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Help with homelessness (Housing Solutions team)

All homelessness assessments are being done by phone for safety reasons. If you're homeless, or about to become homeless, and need support, please call 01642 726800.

If you’re homeless or think you’re about to become homeless, the Housing Solutions team can support and help you.

We want to help stop you becoming homeless, or if you're already homeless, help you to find suitable accommodation.

Some of the ways we can help include:

  • giving you advice on how to find alternative accommodation
  • helping you to solve any problems you may have with your landlord, mortgage lender, or family if you've been asked to leave
  • finding you somewhere to live through Compass Choice Based Lettings scheme, or with a private landlord
  • helping to make your home safer if you’re experiencing violence or harassment
  • offering you temporary accommodation if there are no other options

We also offer specialised advice to the following groups of people:

  • care leavers
  • young people
  • people currently at risk of domestic abuse
  • people leaving hospital
  • people leaving prison
  • people leaving the Armed Forces
  • people suffering from mental health issues

If you're homeless, or being threatened with immediate homelessness, please call the Housing Solutions team on 01642 726800. A Housing Solutions Officer will be able to give you advice and information over the phone.

If you need to speak to someone after 5pm, or on a weekend or Bank Holiday, the out of hours service will be able to help if you call 01642 726800.

A member of the team will take some details and make an initial assessment of your situation, and how you might be able to solve your problems.

We’ll give you advice about services that could help you, and how to contact them.

Sometimes, we’ll make an appointment for you to have an interview about getting extra help to stop you becoming homeless.

If you're already homeless and need accommodation immediately, we’ll make sure you can submit a homelessness application that day.

If you have an interview, you’ll need to bring proof of:

  • your identity (for example, your passport, birth certificate, or driving licence)
  • your income (for example, benefit notification letters, and/or your most recent payslips)
  • your children's identity (their birth certificates, and Child Benefit entitlement letters)
  • any tenancies or license agreements you may have or have had, and letters from your landlord/agent, such as Notice to Quit
  • any illness or disability you have (a letter from your GP or hospital doctor)

A Housing Solutions Officer will interview you, check your details, and look at your problem in detail. They might ask you for more information about your situation.

If we think your homelessness can be prevented

The officer will discuss what steps you can take. They’ll also talk about any assistance which will help you to keep your current home, or to find somewhere new to live if you have to leave. This might include:

  • help with any benefit problems or arrears (overdue rent payments) you have
  • help solving problems with your landlord
  • telling you what rights you have to stay in your home

If we think your homelessness cannot be prevented

The officer will take a formal homelessness application from you and develop with you a personal housing plan.  A Personal Housing Plan (PHP) is a document which sets out the steps that are going to be taken to help prevent you becoming homeless or help to secure you accommodation. If needed, the officer will also arrange temporary accommodation for you if you are eligible.

Specialist support services

There are special support services for:

  • young people
  • people with mental health issues
  • people with a substance misuse and/or offending background
  • money advice
  • legal assistance
  • victims of domestic violence

Compass Choice Based Lettings

We can check whether you have a current and active housing application, and also whether you have the right priority banding. Your priority banding is based on your situation, and decides how urgently you need to find somewhere to live.

Housing advice

We can offer you advice about your tenancy, for example if there are problems with disrepair in your home.

Homeless Prevention Fund

This can be used to help you fix a situation which could lead to homelessness. For example:

  • if you come from outside of Middlesbrough and need help returning to your home town and your support networks
  • if you need to get your locks changed because they’ve been illegally tampered with
  • paying off small amounts of your rent arrears (debts) to make sure you can stay in your home

Negotiation and family reconciliation

We use negotiation and reconciliation to support families that are in conflict. The aim is to stop family members having to leave the family home because relationships have broken down. We can visit you at home and talk to you about your issues, and we may also refer you to trained mediators for help.

The details of your application will be treated as confidential (private), but we'll still need your permission to make enquiries as part of your application for help, and to get the facts about your case, especially if you’re making a homelessness application. Our enquiries may include speaking to agencies such as;

  • the Department for Work and Pensions
  • social services
  • your GP
  • any previous landlords

This will help us to check the information you've given us is right, and to confirm your previous housing history.

Legally, we must give information about your application to other councils if you're placed into their area.

We have a duty to look after public money, so we may use information about your case, which is stored on our computer systems, to help stop or detect fraud. In some cases, we’ll work with the police to check, or give information about, clients. We’re legally allowed to do this.

You should contact the Housing Solutions Team on 01642 726800 immediately. We’ll make arrangements for an emergency assessment to be carried out. We will be able to do this over the phone.

If you become homeless and need somewhere to stay immediately while our daytime service is closed, you can get help from the out of hours emergency service. The out of hours service is open from 5pm every weekday, or at any time on weekends and Bank Holidays. You can speak to the out of hours service by calling 01642 726800.

The officer who answers your call will ask you some questions to make sure you’re put in touch with the right people. They’ll also ask you for a contact number in case they need to get in touch with you again.

If you need to speak to your caseworker, please contact them first and make an appointment. They'll let you know what you need to bring with you.

If you need it, we’ll use an interpreter service so we can speak to you in your own language. You may need to make an appointment in advance so we can do this.

You’ll need to sign a declaration on the application form where you agree to give us the correct information, and not withhold any information or mislead us in any way.

You could be prosecuted if we find out that any of the information in your application is false. If you’re prosecuted and found guilty, you could be ordered to pay a fine of up to £5,000, as set out in Section 214 of the Housing Act 1996, Part VII.

We have a duty to protect the public money we look after. We may take the information you give us and compare it with other information held by the council, for example Council Tax or Housing Benefits, to make sure it matches. We may also pass on your information to other public organisations to help stop or detect fraud. We’re legally allowed to do this.

You must tell us about any changes to your situation.

You could be prosecuted if we find out that any of the information in your application is false. If you’re prosecuted and found guilty, you could be ordered to pay a fine of up to £5,000, as set out in Section 214 of the Housing Act 1996, Part VII.

If we cannot help you to stay in your home, we will offer you a range of advice, including:

  • how to rent a property in the private sector
  • if you're working, whether you could afford to buy a property
  • how to find accommodation which is suitable for people with disabilities

We can also give you information about local hostels and supported housing schemes which you may be able to access.

There’s a limited amount of suitable temporary accommodation and social housing, so we give priority to those who need it most.

Before you make an application for help with housing, an officer will talk to you about all the alternative options for finding a permanent home. To apply for temporary accommodation, you'll need to make a homelessness application.

We’ll give you advice and help which is right for your situation, regardless of your priority status. A Housing Solutions Officer will work with you to try and help you find somewhere to live.

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