We can provide advice, help and support for anyone who is homeless, could become homeless in the near future, or has a housing problem which they need help to resolve.
Our Housing Advice and Options Line can:
- advise you in relation to a range of housing related issues, such as disrepair, ending a tenancy, affordability etc
- advise you on your rights as a tenant or an owner occupier
- explore options to prevent you having to leave your home
- advise you on paying for your home, including guiding you to benefits advice
- advise you on the range of housing options available in the city and how to access housing, including Council housing, private rented accommodation, Housing Association accommodation, supported accommodation and, in an emergency, hostels and refuges
- if you're already homeless, or about to be, we can refer your case for a detailed homelessness assessment to see if the Council can help you find somewhere to live
If we can't resolve your housing issue immediately your case will be referred to one of the casework teams so that further work can be done.
Contact number and out of hours number
Contact the Housing and Options line on 0114 2736306 during office hours Monday – Friday 8.30am to 5pm.
In case of an emergency out of hours please call 0800 7311 689.
Duty of care
In some circumstances we have a duty to provide you and your household with accommodation. We'll assess your circumstances to establish if we owe you a duty.
We'll consider if you are:
- eligible for housing assistance
- in priority need
- intentionally homeless
- have a local connection
These tests are defined by law. Part VII of the 1996 Housing Act determines the tests which we have to apply.
If you have nowhere else to stay, we may have a duty to provide you with temporary accommodation while we look into your circumstance. However, as temporary accommodation is not always an ideal option, we do encourage you to make your own arrangements if possible.
This does not affect the length of time it takes to make a decision, or the decision itself.
Public services with a duty to refer service users who are homeless or threatened with homelessness
From 1 October 2018 specified public authorities have to notify us of service users they consider to be homeless or who are threatened with homelessness in 56 days.
Before making a referral, a public body must obtain written consent from the individual to make the referral and consent to share their contact details with that authority. The individual should also be asked to identify the housing authority in England they wish to be referred to.
The public services that have this duty include:
- youth offender institutions
- secure training centres
- secure colleges
- youth offending teams
- probation services (including rehabilitation companies)
- Jobcentre Plus
- Social Service authorities
- emergency Departments
- urgent treatment centres
- hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care
Making a referral
Complete the referral form and email as an attachment to either:
- firstname.lastname@example.org - this is a secure email address. However, the contents of the email will only be secure if the referral is sent from a secure email address, too
- email@example.com - this is not a secure email address. If you send the referral form to this email address, you must password-protect the attachment, and send a subsequent email with the password
You can also read about the referral process in Duty to refer procedure.
There are 2 types of accommodation we provide for people who are homeless:
This is accommodation that we provide while we look into the circumstances of your case.
You'll be provided with accommodation until we make a decision about any duty we may owe you. This will be the case unless your behaviour means we decide we cannot carry on accommodating you (eg you do not pay charges or break the rules or conditions set by the accommodation provider).
If we decide that we don't owe you any duty your accommodation will be ended. If you are unhappy with our decision you can ask for it to be reviewed.
You can request further accommodation while this review takes place.
If you're worried about your interim accommodation ending or have any other concerns, speak to the Housing Solutions Officer who is dealing with your case.
This is accommodation that we provide once we have made a decision on your case.
How long this accommodation lasts will depend on the decision that we make.
The accommodation may be brought to an end if your behaviour at the accommodation means we decide not to carry on accommodating you (eg you do not pay charges or break any of the rules or conditions set by the accommodation provider).
If you're unhappy with our decision you can ask for it to be reviewed. If your accommodation has been ended you can request further accommodation while this review takes place.
If you're worried about temporary accommodation ending or have any other concerns, speak to the Housing Solution Officer who is dealing with your case.
Homeless enhanced housing options service
The Enhanced Housing Options (EHO) service is a 12 month pilot of an intensive housing options service.
The service aims to work with the most chaotic and vulnerable Housing Solutions customers, many of whom will be trapped in a cycle of homelessness, to find long term settled accommodation appropriate for their individual needs. The client group includes:
- people with mental health issues
- people with current or historical substance misuse
- people with a learning disability who also have other complex needs
- people with convictions that have restrictions on where they can live
- 16/17 year olds who are homeless
- other vulnerable individuals
EHO works with the individual to tackle the root causes of homelessness. The support offered includes:
- tenancy support
- giving support to organise finances
- self-esteem raising work
- referrals to specialist agencies
- basic health promotion
- encouragement to participate in positive activities
- independent living and life skills
We work with customers who have presented to Housing Solutions as being homeless. All referrals are via the Housing Solutions Service.
EHO workers work alongside Housing Solutions to find long term settled accommodation for EHO customers. They work with customers wherever they are living until a long term settled home is found, and then support customers to settle into their new accommodation.