Ryedale District Council

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Homelessness support

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Reducing homelessness is a key priority for the Council. The Housing Options Service aims to provide a free comprehensive housing advice service so should you be homeless or threatened with homelessness, you should approach the Housing Options Team as soon as possible to give them the full details of your situation. They can give you a full range of advice and options in order to assist you. For a detailed advice leaflet, please visit the National Homelessness Advice Service.

The Housing Options service standards document is available in our Web Library.

In addition to this free and impartial service, there are a number of independent organisations in the District who can also give housing advice; a list of these can be found on our Housing Advice pages.

 

The homelessness law covers more than being out on the streets. You will be considered homeless or under threat of homelessness if:

  • You have nowhere to live in the United Kingdom or elsewhere.
  • You are afraid to go home because someone living there has been or may be violent to you or your family.
  • You have nowhere you can live together with all your family.
  • You do not have the owner's permission to stay, e.g. you are a squatter.
  • You have been locked out of your home.
  • You have somewhere to stay but it is not reasonable for you to do so, e.g. following violence, threats of violence or harassment.
  • Your home is a boat, mobile home or caravan and you have nowhere to put it.
  • You have been given Notice to Quit by your landlord.
  • You have been taken to Court by your mortgage lender for arrears and the Court has said you must leave.
  • You have been living with friends and they have asked you to leave.

We will make every effort to prevent homelessness and in these circumstances, there may be times when the Council has a legal obligation to offer interim accommodation, whilst investigating your homelessness further. To be offered interim emergency accommodation, you must be:

  • Eligible for assistance
  • Homeless
  • In priority need

If you have previously applied as homeless, there must also be a material change since your last application.

Once your homelessness has been investigated in full, a legal obligation may exist to find permanent, suitable and affordable housing for some people. We fulfil this obligation by working in partnership with registered social landlords. To be offered accommodation via Ryedale District Council you must be:

  • Eligible for assistance
  • Homeless
  • In priority need
  • Not be intentionally homeless
  • Have a valid local connection with the District of Ryedale

As we may not have a duty to fully assist all applicants, we will try to work with you before you become homeless in order to enable you to remain where you are , or to find you suitable and affordable alternative accommodation.

 

In general you are not eligible for assistance if you are a person from abroad and unable to make a claim for housing benefit. However, this is not a definitive statement, and we would advise that you seek advice on this matter from the Council's Housing Options Team.

 

People are considered to have a priority need if they:

  • have dependent children living with them
  • are pregnant
  • are a person aged between 16-17 (unless a 'relevant child', or a child in need, owed a duty under s.20 of the Children Act 1989)
  • are under 21, and in care or fostered between the ages of 16-18
  • are 21 or more, and vulnerable as a result of having been looked after or fostered (except for 'relevant students')
  • are vulnerable due to old age, mental illness or handicap, or physical disability
  • are vulnerable due to having been a member of Her Majesty's regular naval, military or air forces
  • are vulnerable due to having been in prison
  • are vulnerable as a result of violence from another person, or vulnerable due to another special reason
  • are homeless due to flood, fire or other disaster

 

If you are not in Priority Need, the Council has a duty to provide you with advice and assistance to help you to secure your own accommodation. We can work with you to help you, but it may take a while until accommodation can be found. The Council does not have a duty to provide interim / temporary or permanent accommodation for you when you are not in Priority Need, although if such accommodation is available this may be considered.

 

If a duty exists to offer you interim / temporary accommodation, this may include;

  • Bed and Breakfast accommodation
  • Other temporary accommodation
  • Hostel accommodation

 

This means the Council thinks you chose to leave a home which you could have stayed in, or that it was your fault that you lost your home, or you unreasonably failed to take up accommodation which was available to you.

This would apply if:

  • You chose to sell your home when there was no risk of losing it.
  • You lost your home because of wilful and persistent refusal to pay rent or mortgage payments.
  • You have neglected your affairs having disregarded advice from a qualified person.
  • You voluntarily gave up adequate accommodation in this country or abroad without first having found secure accommodation to move into, when it would have been reasonable for you to stay there.
  • You have been evicted for anti-social behaviour.
  • You have voluntarily resigned from a job with tied accommodation where circumstances indicate it would have been reasonable to continue in the employment.
  • You entered into an arrangement causing you to leave accommodation which was otherwise available to you.

When a homelessness application is made, the officer dealing with your application will have to check to see if you have deliberately done something or deliberately not done something that resulted in you becoming homeless. If you are considered "intentionally homeless", the Council may only have to provide temporary accommodation for a reasonable period of time, possibly 28 days, while you make your own arrangements to find alternative accommodation.

 

You would have a local connection with the Ryedale District if you, or a person you would normally live with, has:

  • Lived in the District for six out of the last 12 months, or three out of the last five years
  • Has close family associations within the District who have lived in the District for al least the last five years
  • Have permanent employment within the District

 

Should you make a homelessness application, you will be interviewed, possibly on more than one occasion, by the officer dealing with your application. All homelessness application are dealt with under the relevant legislation; Housing Act 1996 Part VII (Homelessness), (as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002). The interview will be conducted in private and all the information you provide will be treated in confidence. In some cases it may be necessary to contact a third party, such as your doctor, other local authority, the Police or Children's and Young People's Services in order to complete necessary enquiries. You will be asked to give your authorisation for these enquiries to be made. You will also be asked to provide certain relevant documents, such as a tenancy agreement, or proof of your income.

Once your homeless application has been investigated in full, you will receive a written decision on your application. We aim to make a decision and inform you of it within 33 working days of you initially making the homeless application. If you disagree with the decision made, you have the right to request a review. The letter you receive informing you of the decision of your homelessness application will also include information on how to request a review, should you wish to do so.

 

Independent advice for young people about housing and homelessness is available from Shelter and also available on the Young People's Housing Solutions at the Hub webpage.

Housing Forum

The Housing Forum meets quarterly at Ryedale House and issues involving the provision of affordable homes, homelessness and support for vulnerable people are discussed. Meetings are attended by Housing Association staff, Housing Options Staff, Councillors, staff from support agencies in the Ryedale area, Youth workers, mental health professionals and other agencies including community groups who help support people. Agencies share information and good practice and work together to achieve the aims of the Homelessness Strategy and Action Plan. For more information please contact the Housing Options Team on 01653 600666.

Homelessness Strategy

The council is required by law to produce a Homelessness Strategy and Action Plan and this is a detailed document that describes the local aims of the Housing Services Department and how they are tackling homelessness in partnership with other agencies in the district, and what measures are in place to prevent homelessness locally. The Homelessness Strategy is produced after consultation with service users, staff and partner agencies. The Action Plan is reviewed annually.

Multi-agency work

The Housing Team work closely with other statutory and non-statutory agencies in the area including North Yorkshire Police, Mental Health Services, Health Visitors, Foundation, Domestic Abuse Services, Stonham, Ryedale Citizens Advice Bureau, Horton Housing, Housing Associations, etc. Staff from the Housing Team attend many local meetings to share information about local services and work together to prevent homelessness in the area.

Ryedale is a member of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Strategic Housing Partnership. The partnership identifies and responds to key housing issues and has a Joint Strategic Housing Strategy. For further information visit the partnership website

The Housing Options Team

The Housing Options Team offer housing advice appointments most weekdays and can advise landlords and tenants about their legal rights and responsibilities. They carry out holistic work including a financial assessment and can signpost clients to many other agencies who may be able to help them with specialist needs. Their main aim is to prevent homelessness and they have good links with the housing benefit team, housing associations and private landlords in the Ryedale area. They may be able to negotiate on behalf of a tenant and help them to access benefits or charity payments to prevent their homelessness. The Housing Options Team also deal with Homelessness Applications and source temporary accommodation for eligible homeless people in the Ryedale District.

Homelessness prevention toolkit

The Housing Options Team have access to a number of options they can use to try to prevent homelessness by keeping someone in their current home or helping them to access alternative accommodation. This includes:-

  • Bond Guarantee Scheme
  • Rent In Advance
  • Bond Payment
  • Mortgage Repossession Loan Scheme
  • Discretionary Housing Payments (accessed through housing benefit team)

Housing solutions

The Housing Options Team have specialist officers who work with people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness to source properties in the private sector including lodgings, rooms in shared houses and independent flats and houses.

Housing Related Support Service

Ryedale STAY, provided by Horton Housing, offers a housing support service for people aged 18 and over who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Ryedale. The main aim of this service is to develop of sustain a person’s capacity to live independently within the community, thus preventing loss of their home or tenancy. This service is part of North Yorkshire Homeless Prevention Service commisssioned by North Yorkshire County Council across each of the seven District/Boroughs. To find out further information and what support is available, please visit Horton Housing

 

If you are at risk of losing your home due to mortgage arrears please contact the Housing Options Team as soon as possible on 01653 60066 and arrange an appointment to see a Housing Options Officer.

Mortgage Lenders are required to follow a specific set of actions (visit Shelter for details of the pre-action protocol) before taking legal action to repossess properties and the team can check whether the lender has met their legal obligations, this may result in you having more time to find an appropriate solution.

The Housing Options Team may refer you to specialist advisors who provide a free service and can contact you directly by telephone to go through your personal circumstances and advise you about your options. The Housing Options Officer can also consider, if you can afford it, whether you may be eligible for a loan via the Breathing Space scheme (PDF, 8 pages, 141kb) to help you to keep your home.

If the Housing Options Team are unable to help you to remain in your home the officer will help you to find alternative accommodation.

If you decide to sell your home rather than having it repossessed, advice is available with regard to an Assisted Voluntary Sale, Assisted Sale or Supported Sale. A brief explanation of this process is available from Stepchange

Financial assistance is available for some people who are struggling to pay their mortgage through Job Centre Plus or the Pension Service, this is called Support for Mortgage Interest or SMI. More information is available at GOV.UK.

Free debt advice is available for people with mortgage arrears. The housing options team can refer you to a local specialist debt advisor through Ryedale Citizens Advice Bureau or you can obtain free advice from StepChange online or call free on 0800 138 1111 (inc mobiles).

The Money Advice Service, National Debtline and Shelter also have websites with detailed advice for homeowners who are struggling with mortgage arrears.

10 Step Guide

We have developed a 10 Step Guide to keeping your home (PDF, 2 pages, 289kb).

If you are in arrears with your mortgage or rent, and your landlord or lender is considering (or it has begun) action to repossess your home - be guided by the following steps:

1. Communication is vital
Respond to any correspondence you receive from your landlord or mortgage company and talk to them about the situation. They may be prepared to enter into an agreement that could avoid the need for possession proceedings at all. Keep a written record of any correspondence and confirm what you agree in writing.

2. Get advice straight away
Try to get advice about what to do as soon as possible. Speak to the Duty Housing Options Officer at Ryedale House or contact the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. There are other agencies and help-lines where you can also seek advice—please enquire with the Housing Options team for further information or see our website.

3. Make sure you turn up to Court
We strongly advise you to attend court. Key House will be able to provide FREE legal advice and support you on the day at court. If you do not attend court, the judge will have no alternative but to award possession of your home to your landlord or lender.

4. Get to Court early
Make sure you arrive in good time for your hearing. If your case is called on without you being there, an order will be made in your absence.

5. Try to reach an agreement
Even if proceedings have been issued it is never too late to try and reach an agreement, either before the hearing or even on the day of the hearing.

6. Bring along someone to support you
You can take a family member or friend along for moral support however they may not be able to go into the court room with you.

7. Take all relevant paperwork to court
If there are documents that may be relevant to your case, for example, letters from the Benefits Agency or correspondence about the prospective sale of your property, bring them with you.

8. Tell the judge everything relevant
Once you are in the hearing you should ensure you explain to the judge in clear and concise language everything you think may be relevant to your case. A typical hearing will take about 10 minutes so time is limited to present your case.

9. Don’t assume that the Judge will make a Possession Order
Judges are human and may have more sympathy for your situation than you give them credit for depending on the supporting evidence you provide.

10. Don’t assume that the Judge will be a ‘soft touch’ either!
The Judge can’t help you if there is nothing to work with, and can only make a lawful decision on the information presented to them.

 

If you live in Ryedale and you become suddenly homeless and need help to find emergency accommodation ring 01653 697737 and the operator will arrange for a duty officer to contact you.

If you or someone you know is sleeping rough you should contact the Housing Options Team on 01653 600666 and make an appointment to see a duty officer. The officer will fully assess the persons needs and situation and give advice about their options and also link them up with other support agencies in the area who may be able to assist and support them. More information is available on our Help for rough sleepers webpage.

 

 

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Ryedale District Council
Ryedale House, Old Malton Road
Malton, North Yorkshire
YO17 7HH

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You are here: Home All services Housing Homelessness Homelessness support