If you are in need of housing advice, are homeless, or you are worried about becoming homeless, contact the Homelessness and Housing Advice Service, delivered by Futures Housing Group on behalf of Amber Valley Borough Council, as soon as you can.
Call 0300 4562531 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are homeless due to an emergency situation outside of office hours (after 5pm) or at the weekend or bank holidays, please telephone Call Derbyshire for advice and assistance on 0845 6 058058 or 01629 532600.
Homelessness can often be prevented if the right help and advice is sought quickly. The Homelessness and Housing Advice Service provides advice and assistance for people who are in housing need or at risk of homelessness. We will have an appointment with you (in person or over the telephone) to discuss your circumstances. We will try to help you remain in your home wherever possible, whether you are a social housing tenant, private tenant, homeowner or living with friends and family. We will do this, for example, by negotiating with your landlord or mortgage lender, getting you advice on how to manage your money so that you can afford to stay in your home, or talking with your friends and family to see if they can help.
If it is not possible for you to remain in your accommodation we will discuss other housing options with you, such as:
- Assisting you to find a new home in the private rented sector
- Applying for a housing association property through Home Options
- Referring you to refuge accommodation
- Referring you to shared housing with support
- Referring you to specialist organisations who may be able to support you further.
If we cannot prevent you from becoming homeless, we will carry out an assessment as required under part seven of the Housing Act 1996. It will make it easier for us to assess how we can help you if you bring as much information and documentation with you as possible. For example items such as passport, proof of national insurance number, tenancy agreement, letters from landlord/mortgage company, and so on, will be useful.
This will help us decide if we have a duty to provide you with emergency or temporary accommodation as well as long term housing or if we only have a duty to help you by providing advice and assistance. Generally we will start this assessment at your first appointment.
When you make a homelessness application we will need to follow a legal process to assess whether you are:
- Homeless or threatened with homelessness
- In priority need
- Not intentionally homeless
Each of these terms has a legal meaning:
Eligible for assistance
Some groups of people who have lived abroad are not eligible for help from Amber Valley Borough Council if they are homeless. We cannot help you if you cannot provide documents that prove that you have a right to live in the UK, such as a passport or birth certificate.
If you live in the UK and have not recently spent time living in other countries you will normally be eligible for assistance except if you are:
- From abroad and subject to immigration control or regulations.
- A person prescribed as ineligible by regulations made by the Secretary of State.
Homeless or threatened with homelessness
In order to decide if you are homeless, we have to look at any accommodation that you have access to, and whether or not you are at risk of homelessness in the next 28 days.
- You can be considered homeless if you have no home in the UK, or anywhere else in the world, where you can live together with your immediate family.
- You may also be homeless if the property you live in is no longer suitable or safe for you or a member of your household.
In priority need
We will look into your circumstances to decide if you are in priority need according to the law. You may be in priority need if you or one of the people on your application falls into one of the following categories:
- Pregnant women (and people who live with them)
- People who are responsible for dependent children
- People made homeless by fire, flood or other disaster
- Some people aged 16 or 17
- Some care leavers
- People who are vulnerable because of age, illness, or physical or mental disability
- People who have had to leave their home because of violence or abuse
- Other people who are particularly vulnerable such as those who have been in custody.
If you are not assessed to be in priority need we do not automatically have a duty to accommodate you, we will still provide you with advice and assistance to help you into accommodation.
Not intentionally homeless
We must also assess whether you are 'intentionally homeless'. We may consider you to be intentionally homeless if you have lost accommodation because of something that you did, or failed to do, which led to you becoming homeless. Examples of times you could be intentionally homeless include:
- Not paying your rent or mortgage when you could have afforded to
- Being evicted due to anti-social behaviour
- Leaving accommodation which was suitable for you where you could have reasonably and safely remained
If you are assessed to be homeless intentionally, we do not have a duty to find you a new home. We must only help for a short while and advise you where to go to find somewhere to live.
We are responsible for assisting homeless people who have a local connection to Amber Valley. Generally this includes people who:
- Are residents of Amber Valley or have been for at least six of the last twelve months.
- Have lived in Amber Valley for at least three of the last five years.
- Have a permanent job in the borough.
- Have close family (parents, brother or sister etc.) who have lived here for the past five years.
- Have applied to us for help because it is unsafe for them to live in the area where they usually live or have very special reasons why they need to move to the borough.
If you do not have a connection to Amber Valley, or a special reason to remain, we may refer you onto another council for help where you do have a local connection, as long as it is safe for you to go there.
If you do not have a connection with any area, we may only accommodate you if we have a duty under current homelessness legislation to do so.
How long will it take to make a decision?
If you can bring us all the information we need and we can confirm what you have told us, we will be able to make a decision on your application quickly. We will always try to make a decision within 33 working days.
We will provide you with our decision in writing and explain how you can request a review if you feel that the decision is wrong.
Further information on the homelessness application process can be found at:
Amber Valley's Homelessness Review and Strategy sets out how the Council will respond strategically to homelessness in Amber Valley.