If you are homeless or are threatened with homelessness within 56 days please contact the Housing and Homelessness Team immediately as we need to make a full assessment of your situation. Under the Homeless Reduction Act 2017, the law says that we have different duties to help and advise you dependent on your individual situation.
Fylde Council Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2019-24 – Consultation Document
There is a legal requirement for Local Authorities to have a five year homelessness and rough sleeping strategy that set out information about:
- The scale and causes of homelessness and rough sleeping in the borough
- How we will prevent and tackle homelessness and rough sleeping
- National and Local Context
Our vision and values
Our vision is to work to prevent and relieve homelessness in Fylde and provide homelessness services with our partners that are accessible, professional and make a difference.
We will work to ensure all our clients facing homelessness have:
1. Access to expertise needed to enable clients to engage with a range services that will support them to resolve their housing situation and improve their health and wellbeing.
2. The confidence to access and maintain a tenancy with the skills required to ensure their home is affordable, settled and if they are facing difficulties know who to
approach for help.
To support this vision we have the following 6 values in the way we manage the housing service within Fylde Borough Council
We believe that everyone who is homeless should have a right to:
1. A safe, secure home, and if needed, an appropriate level of support to create a good quality of life
2. The full protection of the law, and not be subjected to violence, abuse, theft and discrimination
3. Communication methods website, leaflets and personal housing plans that give clients an understanding of the service they will receive and actions they need to take as they move
between support services into accommodation
4. Be treated in a courteous and respectful manner
5. All opportunities for contact are captured and maximised to ensure engagement
6. People with experience of homelessness have a voice, their opinions matter and they are involved in determining the solutions to their own issues.
Are you homeless or threatened with homelessness?
Before we can offer you any assistance we must first ensure that you are eligible.
The law says there are four groups of people we cannot help, except to give housing advice. We will not be able to carry on with your homeless application if any of the points listed below apply to you:
- You are subject to immigration control and have limited rights to be here. (We have a duty to check your immigration status and tell the relevant authorities if you are here illegally.)
- You are here from abroad and are not able to claim state benefits (known as ‘public funds’)
- You are not normally or ‘habitually’ resident in this country
- You are an asylum seeker (but may be eligible for temporary accommodation arranged by central government)
If you are not eligible for help, we do not have to give you help; however we will provide you with some housing advice.
Housing Advice and Information
General housing advice will be provided including: how to secure accommodation, your rights, help that is available and how to access that help, we will provide more tailored advice to meet the needs of the following client groups:
- Persons released from prison.
- Care leavers
- Former members of the regular armed forces.
- Victims of domestic abuse.
- Persons leaving hospital.
- Persons suffering from a mental illness or impairment.
Are you legally homeless?
The Housing and Homelessness Team will make a decision about whether you are ‘legally’ homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days.
If it is decided that you are not homeless, we will give you advice to help you keep your home, and tell you about the housing options that may be available to you.
If you are classed as homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days then we will look at what duty we owe. This will involve a detailed assessment of the circumstances which have led to your homelessness/threat of homelessness, your support needs and what type of housing is required. We will create an agreed Personal Housing Plan that will record reasonable actions that both you and the authority should undertake to prevent or relieve homelessness; this will be reviewed at a regular basis.
56 day Prevention Duty
If you are eligible and threatened with homelessness within 56 days we must take reasonable steps to ensure you can remain in your accommodation or secure alternative suitable accommodation that is available to you for a period of at least six months. Should your homelessness not be prevented there will then be a further duty to relieve your homelessness.
56 day Relief Duty
If you are already homeless or your homelessness has not been prevented there is a 56 day period called the Relief Duty where all reasonable steps as agreed in your Personal Housing Plan must be taken to secure you accommodation that is available to you for a period of at least six months. Should we decide that your local connection lies with another authority we will refer you and the Relief Duty to that authority.
Main Homelessness Duty
If at the end of both the Prevention and Relief Duties no accommodation has been secured for you and you have cooperated with all reasonable steps on the Personal Housing Plan we must decide if we legally owe you a Main Homelessness Duty.
Are you in priority need?
Certain groups of people (listed below) are legally defined as being in priority for housing.
- You are pregnant or if dependent children live, or might reasonably be expected to live with you
- You have become homeless or are threatened with homelessness as a result of flood, fire or other disaster.
- You are aged 16 or 17.
- You are 20 or under and a former relevant child.
- You are over 21 and vulnerable as a result of having been looked after, accommodation or fostered at some time in your life.
- You are vulnerable due to old age, mental illness and/or physical disability.
- You are vulnerable as a result of having been a member of her majesty’s regular navy, military or armed forces.
- You are vulnerable as a result of ceasing to occupy accommodation because of violence or harassment from another person or threats of violence from another person that are likely to be carried out.
The only exceptions to the above are if you are:
- ‘Relevant child’ – if you are 16 or 17 and were in care for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14 and were looked after on your 16th birthday.
- ‘Child in need’ – if a duty is owed to you under the Children Act 1989.
- If you fall into one of these three categories listed above you need to speak to Social Services on 0300 123 6720 as they may have a duty to assist you with accommodation.
Are you intentionally homeless?
In order to assess whether we have a duty to re-house you we must consider if you are homeless as a result of your own actions.
Some examples of this are:
- You decided to leave a property when you didn’t have to.
- You could have afforded to pay the rent or mortgage and just didn’t pay it. We would look into your financial circumstance when investigating this.
- You didn’t claim Housing Costs or renew your claim; or you failed to give information about your circumstances that Universal Credit or Housing Benefit needed to process your claim.
- You were evicted for anti-social behaviour.
- You were offered suitable accommodation through the ‘My Home Choice’ Housing register but refused to accept it.
- You have made yourselves homeless to try to get housing more quickly.
The Housing and Homelessness Team will make a decision about whether you are homeless intentionally; you will be given this decision in writing. We would then have a duty, if you are in priority need, to find you temporary accommodation for a limited period of time, so you can find somewhere else to live.
If we find that you are in priority need and not intentionally homeless, we will then look at whether you have a local connection to Fylde.
Do you have a local connection?
You have a local connection to Fylde if you have:
- Lived in Fylde for 6 out of the last 12 months, or 3 out of the last 5 years.
- Employment in Fylde.
- Family links – this MUST be to a close relative such as a parent, brother or sister.
- Special circumstances, which we would consider on an individual basis.
You do not have a local connection if your only connection is because you have been living in Fylde in somewhere such as hospital or at college here.
If a re-housing duty is owed to you but you do not have a local connection with Fylde but have one with another local authority, we would find you temporary accommodation and then refer your application to that Council. Once that Council has accepted your application, then it would accept responsibility for re-housing you.
You would not be referred to an area where you would be at risk of violence.