The Council is legally obliged to assess the needs of homeless people and take appropriate action to address these in accordance with the Housing Needs Act 1996 (as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002). However it is also obliged to try and prevent households from becoming homelessness in the first place and this is always a priority.
The Housing Needs Team are responsible for providing the Council’s homelessness service and specialise in providing advice and assistance relating to housing and homelessness matters.
Services are free, confidential and available to all residents in Bassetlaw regardless of whether you are a tenant, owner, lodger or landlord. So if you are worried about losing your present home and think you may become homeless, contact the Housing Needs Team now because the earlier they are made aware of your problem, the better chance they have of resolving it for you. 128 households were prevented from becoming homeless during 2014-15 as a result of doing so.
These are some of the problems the Team can help with:
- Rent or mortgage unaffordable
- Rent or mortgage arrears
- Termination of assured shorthold tenancy
- Parental/family/friend evictions
- Domestic abuse
- Relationship breakdown
- Anti-social behaviour including violence, threats and harassment
- Job loss/working hours decreased/reduced income
If you have any worries or concerns about your situation, don’t bury your head in the sand or suffer in silence as the problem won’t go away, attend a Drop In session and have a chat with a Homeless Prevention Officer between the hours of 9.30am – 12.30pm at Queen’s Buildings, Worksop Monday, Wednesday or Friday or at 17b The Square, Retford on Tuesday or Thursday. The Council wants to help keep you in your home and has a range of options in place that could resolve your problem.
Officers can visit you in your current home, negotiate with your landlord or mortgage provider, arrange for financial, debt, budgeting and welfare rights advice to be provided, assist with housing benefit claims and housing applications, advise you and your landlord about your tenancy rights and arrange representation at County Court Repossession Hearings. So that you can be given the correct advice as quickly as possible, you may need to provide important documentation relating to your situation such as a Tenancy Agreement, Notice Seeking Possession, bank statement, wage slip etc, therefore it would be helpful if you could have this information ready to hand.
If the Council has reason to believe you are already homeless or likely to become homeless within 28 days, you will be asked to attend an interview so that a formal homeless application can be opened. You will also be asked to provide information about why you became homeless and provide supporting documentation such as a Tenancy Agreement, Notice, rent card, bank statement etc where appropriate.
The Council will then carry out inquiries into your situation to establish the facts. These will be carried out as quickly as possible and may involve contacting relatives, landlords, mortgage lenders, employers, Police, Social Care, G.P., etc. The Council will aim to complete its inquiries and notify you of the decision in writing within 33 days, however the amount and type of inquiries undertaken will be different in each case therefore the time taken to reach a decision will vary. If you are homeless and in priority need at the time you contact the Council, emergency accommodation will be provided whilst your application is considered.
When you receive a written decision from the Council, if you are dissatisfied with it, you can request the decision be reviewed. You can request a review verbally or in writing however you must do so within 21 days of receiving the decision. You are advised to make the Reviewing Officer aware of any new or additional information you want considered, if none is provided, information already on file will be re-considered. Requesting a review of a homeless decision is no guarantee the original decision will be overturned or that you will be provided with accommodation.
To be accepted as homeless and owed a duty to be rehoused by the Council, you must meet all of the following criteria:
- Be eligible for assistance
- Be homeless or threatened with homelessness within the next 28 days
- Be in priority need
- Be Unintentionally Homeless
- Have a local connection to the Bassetlaw area
Those accepted as homeless will receive one offer of accommodation only which could be a Council, Housing Association (Registered Social Landlord) or private rented property. You will be considered for all properties that meet the needs of your household in all areas of Bassetlaw (unless otherwise agreed) to ensure rehousing becomes available as soon as possible.
Contacting the Housing Needs Team
The Housing Needs Team is based at Queen’s Buildings, Worksop and available between the hours of 8.40am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday. They can be contacted by telephone, letter, fax, email, Facebook, twitter, website or attending a Drop In session between the hours 9.30 am – 12.30pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Queen’s Buildings or Tuesday and Thursday at 17b The Square, Retford.
An Emergency out of hours Homelessness Service is also provided and available outside of the above normal office hours, at weekends and bank holidays, 365 days per year. Anyone requiring the emergency service should telephone 01909 534999.
Housing Needs Team
Telephone: 01909 533455/533401/533402/533712
Fax: 01909 535122