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Help with homelessness (Thirteen's Homeless Team)

Rivers House (Thirteen) is closed, so you won't be able to visit in person. All homelessness assessments will be done by phone.

If you're homeless, or about to become homeless, and need support, please call 0800 1303667.

We want to help you by preventing homelessness where possible or, if you're already homeless, helping you to access suitable accommodation.

Thirteen Housing delivers the homeless service on behalf of Middlesbrough Council. The Homeless Team may be able to help you in one of the following ways:

  • Providing you with advice on how to find alternative accommodation
  • Helping you to resolve any problems you may have with your landlord, mortgage lender, or parents if you've been asked to leave
  • Finding you a place to live through Compass Choice Based Lettings scheme, or with a private landlord
  • Helping to make your home safer if you have been experiencing violence or harassment
  • Providing you with temporary accommodation if no other appropriate housing option can be found
  • If you meet certain criteria, providing you with temporary accommodation until a permanent solution is found.

If you're being threatened with immediate homelessness, please call the Homeless Team on 0300 111 1000, and a Homeless Officer can give you advice and information over the phone.

If you're unable to use a phone and believe you need to see an officer immediately, you can attend the Homeless Team office at Rivers House, 63 North Ormesby Road, Middlesbrough, TS4 2AF between 1pm to 4pm any weekday.

You'll be met by a receptionist, who will take brief details of why you need help, including how urgent your query is. You'll then be seen by a Triage Officer, who will take further details and give an initial assessment of your circumstances and how your problems may be resolved.

You'll be given advice and information on how to contact services that can help you. Sometimes, an appointment will be made for you to have an interview to receive additional homelessness prevention assistance, or, if you're in immediate need of accommodation, to take a homelessness application. 

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

A Homeless Officer will interview you, check your details and look at your problem in more depth. They may ask for further information.

If the homelessness can be prevented, the officer will discuss what steps can be taken and any assistance which will help you keep your current home, or access new accommodation when you have to leave. This advice can include assistance with any benefit or arrears problems you may have, trying to help you resolve problems with your landlord, or telling you what rights you have to remain in your home.

If the homelessness cannot be prevented, the officer will take a formal homelessness application from you, and you'll be asked to make a statement about your case. If needed, they will also arrange temporary accommodation for you.

Specialist support services - There are support services for:

  • Young people
  • Those with mental health issues
  • Those with a substance misuse and/or offending background
  • Money advice
  • Legal assistance
  • Sufferers of domestic violence (including a referral to My Sister's Place)

Social lettings agency - to help you access accommodation in the private rented sector, the agency will provide financial assistance for landlords, such as rent bonds, where needed.

Compass Choice Based Lettings - we can check whether you have a current and active rehousing application, and also whether you have the correct priority banding for your circumstances.

Housing advice - we can offer you advice regarding your tenancy, for example if you are experiencing problems with disrepair.

Homeless Prevention Fund - this can be used to solve a situation that may become a crisis if not resolved rapidly. For instance, if you come from outside of Middlesbrough and need a travel warrant returning to your home town and supporting networks, or if you need to get your locks changed because they have been illegally tampered with or you need to ensure someone who has a key is unable to gain access.

Negotiation and family reconciliation - we use negotiation and reconciliation to support families in conflict, and aim to stop family members having to leave the family home because relationships have broken down. We may visit you at home and talk to you about the issues, and may also refer you for specialist support from trained mediators.

Although the details of your application will be treated as confidential, we'll need your permission to allow us to carry out enquiries into your application for assistance, and establish the facts of the case, particularly if it is a homelessness application. These enquiries include contacting the Department for Work and Pensions, social services, your GP, any previous landlords, credit agencies and others to check the information you've given us is accurate and to confirm your previous housing history.

We're also required to give information relating to your application to other councils or departments if you're placed in their area.

We have a duty to protect public funds, and may use information stored on our computer systems for the prevention or detection of fraud. In some cases, we will liaise with the police to check or give information on clients.

You should contact the Homeless Team immediately. Arrangements will then be made for an emergency assessment to be carried out. This may be done over the phone and it may not be necessary for you to attend the office.

For people who become homeless and need accommodation immediately when the daytime service is closed, we operate an out of hours emergency duty service. You can contact the out of office hours service after 5pm each weekday, or any time at weekends and bank holidays. The out of hours service by calling 01642 726050.

The officer who answers the phone will ask you a number of questions to make sure you are put in touch with the correct officer. You'll also be asked for a contact number where the duty officer can contact you.

If you need to come back to the office to see your caseworker, please contact them first to make an appointment. They'll let you know what you need to bring. 

If needed, we will use an interpreter service to speak to you in your own language. It may be necessary to arrange an interview appointment to accommodate this.

In some circumstances, we may be able to visit you, for example, if you're in hospital and are unable to visit the Homeless Team office.

We have a duty to protect the public funds we administer and may use the information you provide to match it against other information held by the council, for example Council Tax or Housing Benefits. We may also disclose any such information to other public bodies, or similar external agencies, for the purpose of the prevention or detection of fraud.

You are required to sign a declaration on the application form, stating that you will provide correct information and not withhold or mislead us in any way.

You must also keep us informed of any changes in your circumstances. You will be liable to prosecution if any of the information in your application is subsequently found to be false. We will prosecute you, and if you are 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 can't help you to remain 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 provide advice and information on local hostels and supported housing schemes you may be able to access.

Suitable temporary accommodation and certain types of social housing are limited in Middlesbrough and priority is given to those who need it most. 

Before you make an application for housing assistance, a triage officer will go through all the appropriate alternative options to find you a permanent home. To apply for temporary accommodation, you'll need to make a homelessness application.

You'll receive advice and assistance that is right for you regardless of your priority status, and a Homeless Officer will work with you to try and help you find accommodation.

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