Homeless Section

Homelessness Reduction

The Council has a duty to provide homelessness advice and assistance to households who are eligible to receive the assistance and who are homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days of the approach.  If you homeless or threatened with homelessness and require advice, you should contact the Homelessness Reduction Team who will advise you of the options available to you and how the Council can assist you.

Application Process

  • To start this process please complete our online initial enquiry form with the details of your current situation.  

  • If you need support to complete the online Initial Enquiry Form, please call us using the telephone number found in the 'contact tab'

  • Your enquiry form will be processed within normal office working hours and referrals are prioritised based upon the urgency of the situation, so you may not receive an urgent response if you are not imminently homeless. 

  • Once you have submitted the form, the Homelessness Reduction Team will look at your situation in detail and try to assist you to resolve your housing situation. 

  • The Council has a duty to provide homelessness advice and assistance to households under the provisions of the Housing Act 1996 and the Homelessness Reduction Team will either work with you to prevent you from becoming homeless or to assist you to relieve your homelessness.  They will provide you with advice and assistance that is tailored to your needs and circumstances but in order to ascertain the assistance you are entitled to, the Council is required to confirm that you are eligible to receive assistance and that you are homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days and will require evidence from you.   

 

Proof of Eligibility

Certain people from abroad may not be eligible for homelessness assistance and so we would require evidence of your eligibility.   

This can be submitted in the form of:

  • A passport (current or expired) showing that you are a British citizen, or a citizen of the UK and Colonies having the 'right of abode' in the UK.

  • A full birth or adoption certificate issued in the UK, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland, which includes the name(s) of at least one of the holder’s parents or adoptive parents.

  • Evidence (identity card, document of confirmation issued by one of HM forces, confirmation letter issued by the Secretary of State) of the holder’s previous or current service in any of HM’s UK armed forces.

  • Benefits paperwork issued by HMRC, a UK Local Authority or Job Centre Plus, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions or the Northern Ireland Department for Social Development, issued within the 3 months prior to the check.

  • A passport or national identity card (current or expired) showing that the holder is a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

  • A registration certificate or document (current or expired) certifying or indicating permanent residence issued by the Home Office.

  • A ‘permanent’ residence, ‘indefinite leave to remain’, ‘indefinite leave to enter’ or ‘no time limit’ card issued by the Home Office (current or expired).

  • A biometric ‘residence permit’ card (current or expired) issued by the Home Office to the holder indicating that the person named has ‘indefinite’ leave in the UK, or has ‘no time limit’ on their stay in the UK.

Proof of Homelessness

You are only entitled to receive homelessness advice if you homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days and we require evidence of this.   

This can be submitted in the form of:

  • A notice from your landlord to end your tenancy or licence agreement.

  • A notice from your family/friends asking you to leave the accommodation that you share with them.

  • Landlord or Court possession paperwork asking you to leave your social tenancy. 

  • Any evidence that shows that it would be unsuitable or unreasonable to remain in your current accommodation.  

If you do not provide the required evidence that you are eligible for assistance and homeless, or threatened with homelessness within 56 days, the Council will only be able to provide you with basic housing advice. 

Homelessness Prevention

If you are threatened with homelessness within 56 days of the date that you approach, the Council has a duty to provide you with up to 56 days of ‘homelessness prevention’ advice and assistance.  During this period the Council will liaise with you to agree a ‘Personal Housing Plan’, which is a reasonable list of steps and tasks that you and the Council will take to try to prevent you from becoming homeless.  These steps will be any reasonable actions that could help you either remain in your current property or assist you to secure an alternative property. 

Homelessness Relief

If you are already homeless at the time that you approach, or homelessness prevention work is unsuccessful in resolving your situation, the Council has a duty to provide you with 56 days of ‘homelessness relief’ advice and assistance.  As with the homelessness prevention, during this relief period the Council will agree a reasonable list of steps and tasks that you and the Council will take to try to relieve your homeless.  These steps will be any reasonable actions that could help you to secure an alternative property.

Please note that if you do not have a local connection to the Isle of Wight, as defined by the Housing Act 1996, and it is determined that you have a local connection to another area, the Isle of Wight Council will refer the homelessness relief duty that is owed to you to the local authority where you have the connection. 

Ending Homelessness Prevention and Relief Duties

The prevention duty and the relief duty that is owed to you can be ended if certain conditions have been met.  These are if:

  • The Council is satisfied that you have accommodation that has a reasonable prospect of being available for at least 6 months (can apply to prevention and relief duty).

  • The 56 days have passed without accommodation being secured (can apply to prevention and relief duty).

  • The applicant becomes homeless (prevention duty only).

  • You have refused an offer of suitable accommodation (can apply to prevention and relief duty).

  • The applicant has become intentionally homeless from accommodation that has been made available to them (can apply to prevention and relief duty).

  • You are no longer eligible for assistance (can apply to prevention and relief duty).

  • You have deliberately and unreasonably refused to co-operate with the Council (can apply to prevention and relief duty).

Interim Accommodation

At the start of the homelessness relief duty, the Council is required to ascertain whether you are entitled to interim accommodation while you are homeless and will decide whether you have a priority need (i.e. pregnancy, children, vulnerability) as defined by the Housing Act 1996.  If you are considered to have a 'priority need' under the Housing Act, the Council will find you somewhere temporary to live while we try to relieve your homelessness.  This is likely to be in the form of bed and breakfast accommodation initially but temporary accommodation may be later offered if your homelessness can not be relieved within 56 days and you are not considered to have made yourself intentionally homeless. 

Main Housing Duty

If reasonable and suitable accommodation can not be secured within the 56 days of homelessness relief duty, the Council may decide to accept a long term housing duty to you.  This duty will exist if:

  1. You are eligible for assistance;

  2. You are homeless;

  3. You have a priority need;

  4. You are not considered to be intentionally homeless

If the Council has accepted the main housing duty for you, you will be provided with temporary accommodation until such time that the main housing duty can be discharged.  Every effort will be made to provide accommodation within the area of your choice, but this cannot be guaranteed.  

If the Council accepts the main housing duty for you, you will be expected register on Island HomeFinder.  Island HomeFinder is used for allocating social housing to those who need it most. Applicants are prioritised by housing need and then by the length of time they have been registered on the system.  Available social rented properties are advertised via Island HomeFinder and applicants are required to express their interest in properties that are suitable for their needs.  You shall be offered a property when your bid is at the top of a shortlist. 

The main housing duty can be discharged by the Council if:

  • You accept a suitable offer of accommodation under part 6 (social housing);

  • You accept an offer of an assured tenancy from a private landlord;

  • You accept or refuse an offer of an assured shorthold tenancy of at least 12 months from a private landlord;

  • You refuse a final offer of accommodation under part 6 (social housing

  • You refuse an offer of temporary accommodation;

  • You cease to be eligible;

  • You become intentionally homeless temporary accommodation

  • You voluntarily cease to occupy temporary accommodation.

Intentionally Homeless

If you are found to have made yourself intentionally homeless from your last settled address, the Council will not accepted the main housing duty for you.  If you have been provided with interim accommodation during the relief duty and it is decided that you have made yourself intentionally homeless, and you will continue to be provided with interim accommodation for a reasonable period in order to allow time for you to find alternative accommodation.  

Right of review

If you do not agree with the decisions that the Council makes in relation to the duties that you are owed under the Housing Act 1996, you can ask for the certain decisions to be reviewed.  You will be advised of the decisions that you can request a review on as the decisions are made.  Any review would be carried out by a senior officer who was not involved with the original decision and if you do not agree with the outcome of the review, you can appeal to the County Court.

Storage of Furniture

When you are placed in interim and temporary accommodation, the Council can assist you with an interest free loan for the cost of removal of furniture with a removal contractor. 

We may also offer an interest free loan for storage of your belongings if you can not reasonably take them with you to the accommodation you have been provided with.  You will be asked to sign an agreement to repay the Council by instalments for costs incurred on your behalf.

The Council will agree the level of repayments with you based on your income and ability to pay.  If payments are not maintained, the Council will have no further obligation for any furniture or possessions in storage and you will have to make your own arrangements.  In addition, the Council may arrange to sell your possessions to cover any debt occurred.

Many people do not wish to incur this additional expense and make their own arrangements with friends and relatives to help look after their belongings. 

Assistance to Secure Accommodation

The Council administers financial initiatives to assist people to either remain in their existing homes or to secure alternative accommodation if they are homeless or threatened with homelessness.  All applicants who approach as homeless as above will be advised of the financial assistance that the Council may offer to them.  Anybody who requires financial assistance will have their finances assessed and verified before they are offered as a solution.

Deposit Scheme

The Deposit Scheme is where we can pay a deposit on your behalf to secure alternative private rented accommodation. If you are eligible for this scheme, we will advise you in writing, and tell you how much we are able to assist with. However, you should not enter into any tenancy agreement unless it has been approved by the Homelessness Prevention Team first, as we need to ensure that the property is suitable for your needs and affordable. We cannot pay a deposit if you have already taken the tenancy without agreement of the officer dealing with your case and therefore must contact us as soon as you find a property that you think may be suitable. Our contact details can be found in the 'contact tab' above.

Financial assistance is also available to enable people to remain in their current home.  This may be achieved in a variety of ways, such as helping people clear minor rent arrears or covering a shortfall in rent whilst alternative accommodation is sought.

If you are not eligible for the Council’s Rent Deposit Scheme, we may be able to refer you to other agencies who can offer financial help.

Alternative accommodation

If you are looking to secure alternative accommodation, further information can be obtained in our Finding Your Own Accommodation leaflet (PDF, 90.83KB, 10 pages).