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Homelessness

Homelessness

The Council's duties and how to get help

If you are eligible for assistance and homeless or threatened with homelessness, your local council should give you help to secure accommodation or to prevent your homelessness

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days, the Council will:

  • Make an initial assessment following your approach to the service and arrange to interview you to gather further information
  • Carry out a needs assessment and develop a Personalised Housing Plan with you
  • Provide a written decision on your application as to which duty is owed to you by the Council
  • Work with you to prevent or relieve your homelessness

Prevention Duty

If you are threatened with homelessness within 56 days the Council will have a duty to try and prevent this to try and enable you to stay in your home or to help you find alternative accommodation. If you are likely to lose your home in the next 56 days you should contact the Council’s Homelessness & Advice Service on 01229 876599.

The help the Council will provide is likely to include

  • Giving you your local housing options
  • Giving advice and helping you with your difficulties in finding somewhere else to live
  • Assisting you to find accommodation through Cumbria Choice Based Lettings and in the private rented sector
  • Considering you for financial assistance to help you to secure private rented accommodation
  • Referring you for supported housing
  • Develop a Personalized Housing Plan with you

This prevention duty will come to an end if you:

  • are able to remain in the accommodation you are in
  • accept alternative accommodation which is suitable and likely to last for at least 6 months
  • reject alternative accommodation which was suitable and was likely to last for at least 6 months
  • refuse to engage with the help which is being offered
  • lose contact with the Council
  • cease to be eligible for assistance
  • become homeless
  • withdraw your application

Relief Duty

If homelessness cannot be prevented the Council will have a duty to relieve your homelessness, this duty lasts for 56 days. During this period the Council will help to secure you alternative accommodation. However, only people who the Council have reason to believe have a priority need will be offered temporary accommodation.

The help the Council will provide is likely to include:

  • Giving you your local housing options
  • Giving advice and helping you with your difficulties in finding somewhere else to live
  • Assisting you to find accommodation through Cumbria Choice Based Lettings and in the private rented sector
  • Considering you for financial assistance to help you to secure private rented accommodation
  • Referring you for supported housing
  • Develop a Personalized Housing Plan with you

This relief duty will come to an end if you:

  • accept alternative accommodation which is suitable and likely to last for at least 6 months
  • reject alternative accommodation which was suitable and was likely to last for at least 6 months
  • refuse to engage with the help which is being offered
  • lose contact with the Council
  • cease to be eligible for assistance
  • withdraw your application
  • 56 period comes to an end

If you are still homeless after this period the Council will make a decision on what further duties you are owed. The extent of these duties depend on whether you have a priority need or whether your homelessness was your fault. The Council’s duties to help you may be reduced if you rejected suitable accommodation or refused to engage with us whilst we had the 56 day duty to relieve your homelessness.

For more information on our statutory duties towards people who are homeless or likely to become homeless, please read our Homelessness leaflet.

Our Homeless Strategy is currently under review.  For further information please ring (01229) 876599.

How to get advice and information

We will provide advice and assistance to eligible homeless people free of charge and attempt to prevent homelessness whenever possible.  If you would like to arrange an interview or require further information, call in to the Housing Department (see office opening times below) or contact our Senior Advice Officers on (01229) 876599 or email: housing@barrowbc.gov.uk  You can also self-refer by clicking on this self-refer link

  •  Office opening times: Monday to Friday:  9am - 4pm. 
  • Telephone enquiries: Monday to Thursday: 8:30am to 5pm & Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm

Out-of-Hours Enquiries

If you are homeless and making enquiries out-of-office hours please contact our Out-of-Hours Emergency No. (01229) 833311.

For information on ways in which you may be able to prevent yourself from becoming homeless, please read our leaflet Preventing Homelessness.

Looking for Private Rented Accommodation but can't afford a deposit?

The DiGS (Deposit Guarantee Scheme) has been set up to help people in need move into secure privately rented accommodation.  For more information please read our DiGS leaflet

For details of private landlords in the area please read our Private Landlords' Directory

Applying for Council Accommodation

Barrow Borough Council Housing Service are part of the Cumbria Choice Based Lettings Scheme. Cumbria Choice is where all the main social housing providers in Cumbria advertise their vacant properties.

You have to register to take part in the scheme and you can do this online at www.cumbriachoice.org.uk.  Alternatively, you can request an application form from our office: tel. (01229) 876302 or 876550 or email: housinglettings@barrowbc.gov.uk

Once your application has been accepted, you will receive confirmation from the housing provider you apply to, which will detail the band you have been placed in based on your housing need.

As soon as you are registered on the Cumbria Choice Scheme you will be able to view adverts giving details of all our vacant properties (as well as other vacant properties in Cumbria). You are then given the option to express an interest (called ‘bidding’) for the properties you would like to be considered for. To do this you will need your registration reference number, which is provided in your confirmation notice and your memorable date, which is set initially as the main applicants date of birth (for security reasons, you will be asked to change this when you first log in).

You can view properties each week by:

  • Visiting the website at www.cumbriachoice.org.uk
  • In news sheets available to view in the reception area of the Housing Service

You can express an interest (‘bid’) in a property by:

  • Visiting the website at www.cumbriachoice.org.uk
  • Using the Choice Based Lettings automated telephone number- 0300 011 2160
  • By text message to 07537 402 596
  • In person at the Housing Department

If you would like any further information on the scheme or wish to discuss an application you already have registered, please call into the Housing Department or contact a member of our Housing Options team on 01229 876550 or 01229 876352.

Cumbria Choice & Preventing Homelesness

If you find yourself facing homelessness, you should make an appointment to see one of our Senior Advice Officers - ring (01229) 876599 who will be able to assess your situation and establish whether it is necessary to link in with Cumbria Choice and award you some additional priority in the bidding process to improve your chances of securing accommodation through the scheme to prevent you becoming homeless.  This assessment is made on a case-by-case basis and not all those seeking advice will be eligible for a banding upgrade.

Rough Sleepers

Cold Weather Provision for Rough Sleepers

We can provide services to rough sleepers to prevent serious harm as a result of cold weather conditions, when the temperature is forecast to drop to zero degrees or less for three consecutive days.

People found sleeping rough can be directed to the Homeless Advice Team:

  • During office hours: (01229) 876599

  • Out of hours: (01229) 833311

Assistance for Rough Sleepers

Ending rough sleeping is a national priority and we are working with other local authorities across Cumbria, with the aid of additional funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government, to address the needs of rough sleepers in this area.

Local Assistance 

Read our leaflet which gives information on homeless support available in the community.

No Second Night Out Service Offer

We aim to implement the Government’s No Second Night Out principles, which are:

  • New rough sleepers should be identified and helped off the streets immediately so that they do not fall into a dangerous rough sleeping lifestyle.
  • Members of the public should be able to play an active role by reporting and referring people sleeping rough.
  • Rough sleepers should be helped to access a place of safety where their needs can be quickly assessed and they can receive advice on their options.
  • Rough sleepers should be able to access emergency accommodation and other services, such as healthcare, if needed.
  • If people have come from another area or country and find themselves sleeping rough, the aim should be to reconnect them back to their local community unless there is good reason why they cannot return.

Rough Sleepers are defined as:

"People sleeping, about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) or actually bedded down in the open air (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments). People in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as stairwells, barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations, or 'bashes')."

Source: Evaluating the Extent of Rough Sleeping, Communities and Local Government, 2010.

NB. The definition does not include people in hostels or shelters, people in campsites or other sites used for recreational purposes or organised protest, squatters or travellers.

What We Can Do

  • New Rough Sleepers:  Our Homeless Advice Team is working collaboratively with partners to locate and support all identified rough sleepers.  We are able to do this within office hours.  However, in order to reach rough sleepers out of hours, we need other organisations and the local community to help by signposting rough sleepers to our services or reporting rough sleepers (see below).
  • Public Involvement:  Every local housing authority in Cumbria has a contact number (or numbers) which have been printed on cards and distributed around the county.  Anyone can phone these numbers to report rough sleepers.  The numbers for all of Cumbria are listed below.
  • Place of Safety:  We are able to offer interview facilities at our offices at the Town Hall, Duke Street, Barrow-in-Furness, LA14 2LD, between the hours of 9am – 4pm.    We may also be able to provide interviews elsewhere by arrangement with partner agencies such as Furness Homeless Support Group, 25 Bath Street.   Please read our Service Standards.
  • Emergency Accommodation:  We may provide emergency cold weather provision for rough sleepers.  However, we do not have any direct access or other hostel accommodation and therefore it is sometimes necessary to use accommodation outside of our district or other reasonable temporary measures/solutions.
  • Reconnection:  We will endeavour to reconnect rough sleepers to their local community or country where it is considered safe to do so.  Please read our Reconnection Statement.

To Report a Person Sleeping Rough in Cumbria

If the rough sleeper is within the Borough of Barrow-in-Furness please call our Homeless Advice Team on (01229) 876332 - office hours: 9am – 5pm (4.30pm Friday).  Out of Office hours: 01229 833311.

If the rough sleeper is located elsewhere in Cumbria, please call the appropriate number for the area.

Area                   Office Hours           Out of Office Hours

Allerdale           01900 702 660       01900 871 080

Carlisle              01228 817 079       01228 817 373 single men                                                                                                                             or 01228 817 386 women and families

Copeland           0300 500 0914         0300 500 0914

Eden                   01768 861 428       08003 581 401

South Lakeland  01539 793 199      0870 4286 905            

Reporting Requirement

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) requires the Council to report on its homelessness prevention activity – this is known as H-CLIC (Homeless Case Level Information Collection). The MHCLG wants to learn more about the help provided to people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness . They want to use the information you provide about how you have become homeless (or threatened with homelessness), your housing history and the sort of things that you need help and support with. They also wants to look at how you use other public services and benefits you receive. Your personal details (such as your name) will be needed for this, but the researchers will not know whose information they’re looking at.

Your information will be kept safe and confidential, and handled with care and in accordance with the law.

If you want to know more information about H-CLIC, you can contact the Homelessness & Advice team on 01229 876599 or visit https://gss.civilservice.gov.uk/statistics/working-with-users/dclg-homelessness-statistics-user-forum/

For information on the impact of the homelessness programmes, please read our leaflet Impact of the Homeless Reduction Act 2017.  

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