Homelessness

The Homelessness Reduction Act – what it means for you

The new Homelessness Reduction Act changes the way in which we try to help residents who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. 

While we have always worked with residents to help them stay in their current home where possible or find a planned move to something more suitable the Homelessness Reduction Act creates two new duties: 

  • Duty to take steps to prevent homelessness: Surrey Heath Borough Council will help you if you are at risk of losing your home and you are threatened with homelessness within the next 56 days.  This will give us more time to try and resolve the situation.
     
  • Duty to take steps to relieve homelessnessif you are homeless Surrey Heath Borough Council will have to help you to secure suitable accommodation, regardless of whether you are ‘intentionally homeless’ or in ‘priority need’. This will mean that all eligible households are offered help to find a home, although there is not a duty on the Council to directly provide everybody who is homeless with accommodation. 

To help you stay in your current home or move in a planned way we will assess your needs and work with you to develop a Personal Housing Plan. This will set out what actions the Council will take to help. It will also include the actions you will be expected to take to resolve your housing situation. 

This Personal Housing Plan will be reviewed while we work with you to find a home. 

If neither of the above steps work and you become, or remain, homeless, then if you are in priority need you retain your right to be provided with temporary accommodation. 

It is important to note that The Homelessness Reduction Act does not provide any new accommodation. There are no Council houses in Surrey Heath and the demand for housing association homes is always greater than the number of homes available. The option for many people who approach the Council is to work with us to keep their current accommodation or to accept assistance to secure a home in the private sector. The legislation makes it clear that a private tenancy is a suitable option for people to end their homelessness and while you may have a preference for a housing association home this will not be a short term option for many people.

Every year the Housing Team at Surrey Heath Borough Council prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless, or help them find a planned move so they do not become homeless. The longer we have to work with people the better the chance of finding a housing solution for them so if you are at risk of losing your home please contact us now.

Call us on 012767 707100 or email housing@surreyheath.gov.uk