This page explains what is meant by Housing Options, outlines the advice offered by the council to people who are homeless or who are likely to become homeless, and what the Housing Service Team can do to help. This page should help you to understand how the council can help you resolve the problems that you face.
Who can be helped by the Housing Service?
The council has duties under various Housing Acts to help people who are homeless.
As soon as you are faced with homelessness or even if you think that you might become homeless in the future you should contact the Housing Service Team for advice.
Once the service is aware of your problem you will be offered advice on how to prevent the homelessness and help you stay in your home.
If this advice is not successful, and you do become homeless the service would look to help you find somewhere to stay. This will usually happen whilst an assessment of your housing needs is made. The assessment will look at all your housing needs and may help you find accommodation.
It is important to remember that the council only has limited resources which it can use to meet your accommodation needs. Havant is an area of very high demand for social housing.
Each year there are more applications for social housing than can be helped with the result that most people will have to wait several years before they can be considered for a permanent offer of social housing.
If you are able to contact the service as soon as you become aware that you will be needing help it will increase the chances of either preventing the homelessness or of finding somewhere else to stay.
What is a Housing Options interview?
A housing options interview will examine the housing needs that you and your household may have and will help identify what can be done to meet those needs.
As part of the Housing Options interview you will be given advice on staying in your current accommodation or offered advice to find suitable accommodation.
The advice that is often offered is:
- Negotiate a settlement with a parent or relative to allow you to stay living at home whilst you are looking for somewhere else
- Negotiate with your landlord to extend your tenancy
- Arrange for support services to be provided to help you maintain your tenancy
- We can help with sorting out housing benefit
- We can help you to find alternative accommodation
- We can help you make an application for social housing
Young people aged 16 or 17 will be offered a joint assessment by Social Services and the council’s Young Persons Housing Advisory Officer.
At the interview as part of the assessment you will be required to follow up some tasks your self. On some occasions the problem is resolved immediately but mostly it will take time before your problem is resolved and the advice that has been offered becomes effective.
During this time you will be able to seek further help from your Housing Advisory Officer or any other member of staff within the Housing Service Team.
Please remember that this is a very busy service and that it is not always possible to answer your enquiry immediately. If your Housing Advisory Officer is not available simply leave a message and they will get back to you as soon as possible.
What happens if I do become homeless?
If the approach undertaken in the Housing Options interview is not successful and you do lose your accommodation the council will still continue working with you to help you find accommodation. You will be asked to provide proof of your and the members of your household’s identity and provide documents such Court Orders, notices to quit and letters from your landlord and solicitor.
It will be your requirement to ensure that the information you provide to the council is accurate. Giving false information is a criminal offence.
Further advice can be found from Shelter; the housing and homelessness charity - england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice.