You don't have to be sleeping on the streets or not have a roof over your head to be considered homeless. Most people who are legally homeless are not on the streets.
- You are at risk of violence or abuse where you are living. This can be from a partner, ex-partner or family member, or someone in your area. The council may ask you to provide details of the incidents. Evidence is helpful but the council will not turn you away if you haven’t reported to police.
- You don't have 'a roof over your head' ie you are street homeless
- You are at risk of losing your home
- You cannot afford to stay where you are
- Your accommodation is very temporary
- You are staying with friends or 'sofa surfing'
- You have been locked out or illegally evicted
- Your accommodation is in very poor condition
- You cannot live together with your partner or close family
- You have nowhere to put your houseboat or caravan
If one or more of these apply, you may be eligible for help from the council.
If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless within the next 56 days, please contact Housing Options on 0300 126 3000. We offer free information and advice to anyone who is homeless or worried about becoming homeless.
We will give you advice based on your personal circumstances.
We can let you know what support is available to help you to stay in your own home. If that is not an option, then we can offer you help to find a different home.
Public authorities can contact us under the Duty to Refer.
- you must normally live in the UK long-term and not be subject to immigration control
- you must be homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days
If you meet these criteria, you can make a homeless application. This means that you are telling the council you are homeless or at risk of homelessness and need assistance. By law, you must be allowed to make this application on the day you contact to the council.
The council will make an appointment for you to be interviewed by a Housing Options Officer. This will be the same day if you have nowhere to stay that night.
During the interview
You need to provide the right documents in order for the council to be able to accept a duty to assist you. The process will be quicker if you provide a copy of your ID and notice of eviction/a letter from the person you have been staying with confirming you have to leave. For more information on the homelessness interview, you can visit the Shelter website at shelter.org.uk in the ‘How to apply as homeless’ section.
Will I receive temporary accommodation?
Following your interview, the Housing Options Officer will assess your circumstances and make a decision on whether you will be provided with temporary accommodation either today (if already homeless) or in the future (if you are due to become homeless).
If the council believe you are eligible, homeless and in priority need, you will be offered temporary accommodation.
If the council do not believe you are in priority need, temporary accommodation will not be offered, and details of local services will be provided.
The type of accommodation offered depends on the availability of accommodation in the area at the time. It could be a room in a hotel or B&B but where possible we will try and move you to self-contained accommodation as soon as something becomes available. Accommodation may also be provided outside of the area where you approached as homeless if nothing suitable is available locally. Your Housing Options Officer will discuss the options available with you.
If you refuse an offer of temporary accommodation, you may not be offered an alternative therefore we recommend that you accept any offer of accommodation. If you believe it is unsuitable, you can request a review of its suitability even after you have moved in.
The Council’s Temporary Accommodation policy sets out how the Council will meet its statutory duties and exercise its powers in relation to the provision (and withdrawal of) of suitable temporary accommodation for homeless households. This includes when temporary accommodation will be provided, and how different types of temporary accommodation will be allocated and prioritised.
An officer will assess your emergency and provide advice and assistance. Emergency accommodation will only be provided if the emergency cannot be resolved, and you are eligible for accommodation to be provided.
You can contact us via 0300 126 3000 where you will be directed to the emergency out of hours service for your area.
- Shelter provide housing advice from expert housing advisers. If you are concerned that you may become homeless, contact Shelter on the details provided below.
Telephone: 0808 800 4444
- Citizens Advice in East Northants and the Corby / Kettering areas provide free advice about citizens’ rights, responsibilities and services.
Telephone: 03444 111 444
- Community Law Services provide advice and representation to help with welfare benefits, housing, debt and immigration.
Telephone: 01604 621 038
- Benefits advice and how to claim is provided by the Government.
- Money Advice Service is an independent service, set up by the government to help you manage your money if you are going through a significant life event or are trying to tackle or avoid debt. They can provide free information and support if you have arrears with your rent, council tax or mortgage.
Telephone: 01604 838 578 (Northampton) or 0800 138 7777 (National helpline)
Email: [email protected]
The Homeless Reduction Act 2017 came into effect in April 2018 and placed further duties on Local Authorities to support household who are eligible and homeless, not just those with a ‘priority need’.
Public bodies such as hospitals, prisons, the Jobcentre, social services etc. are required to refer individuals or families that are homeless or threatened with homelessness to the Local Authority to make sure they receive the advice and support they require.
If you are threatened with homelessness within 56 days and are eligible for assistance, we have a duty to provide you with advice and support in order to try and prevent you from becoming homeless.
If you have been asked to leave by family or friends, received a notice from your landlord, have had a relationship breakdown or any other reason whereby you are at risk of losing your accommodation within the next 56 days, our Housing Options team will discuss your circumstances with you and establish whether we have a duty to provide you with support.
We may be able to help you through our homelessness prevention fund. Households who are owed the prevention, relief or main housing duties could be considered for a payment from the Fund. This payment may enable you to remain in your existing accommodation, secure alternative accommodation, or prevent or delay the provision of temporary accommodation.
We may also be able to help you secure a private rented property through our private rented sector access fund. This fund helps households who are owed the prevention, relief or main housing duties to secure suitable and affordable accommodation in the private rented sector.
If you are already homeless and are eligible for assistance, we have a duty to provide you with advice and support to find alternative accommodation regardless of whether you have a ‘priority need’ or became homeless through your own actions (‘intentionally homeless’).
Our Housing Options team will discuss your circumstances and carry out enquiries into the reasons for your homelessness whilst supporting you to find alternative accommodation.
What happens next?
If we are unable to find you alternative accommodation to prevent or relieve your homelessness, and find you or your household to be in priority need and not intentionally homeless, we will be able to accept a Main Duty to you and will continue to work with you to find suitable accommodation.
The Discharge of Homelessness Duties policy sets out how the Council will seek to discharge its duties through offers of accommodation to homeless households (in both the social and private rented housing sectors) which must comply with the relevant suitability requirements.
If we do not believe you are in priority need, our duty to you will come to an end after the 56-day relief period.
If we believe that you became homeless as a direct result of something you deliberately did or failed to do, we will continue to offer you support to find alternative accommodation for a reasonable period (often a couple of weeks) after our duty comes to an end.