Homelessness and housing advice

Homelessness and housing difficulties can often be prevented if the right advice is sought and actions are taken quickly. If you are in need of housing advice or assistance and are worried about becoming homeless, contact the housing solutions team as soon as you can on 01773 841400 or at housing.solutions@ambervalley.gov.uk

You will be given and asked to fill in a housing help preparation pack, which will help you to think about what help you need to resolve your housing problem, as well as what steps the council may take to assist you. You will be offered a housing solutions Interview. You can choose whether this is in person at Ripley town hall or if you would prefer to be interviewed over the phone.

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.

In the first instance we must follow a legal process, as required under part seven of the Housing Act 1996 to assess whether you are.

If you are homeless due to an emergency situation and cannot get to the council Offices before 4:00pm on weekdays, please telephone ‘Call Derbyshire’ for advice and assistance on 08456 058058 or 01629 532600 after 5:00pm or at weekends or bank holidays.

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 56 days or have a valid section 21 notice stating that your landlord intends to seek possession of your rented home. We may also choose to work with you even if it is not certain that you are at risk of homelessness within 56 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.

A housing solutions officer will work with you to develop a personalised housing plan of steps that you need to take and that we will take to prevent you from losing your current home, or if this is not possible, to help you to find an alternative option. We will assess the support needs of you and your family, and may try to help you to access services that could reduce the chance of you becoming homeless.

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
  • Referring you to specialist organisations who may be able to support you further

Depending on your current situation, a housing solutions officer could work with you for some time to help you to prevent or relieve your homelessness. If your housing problem has not been resolved after the statutory prevention period has passed, which is generally up to 56 days or the point where you must legally leave your accommodation, an assessment will be made to decide whether we owe you a duty to provide you with interim accommodation. We must provide you with interim accommodation if your household is eligible, homeless and in priority need.

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

After this point we will work with you for another period of 56 days to try to relieve your homelessness. At the end of this relief duty, if your housing problem has not been resolved we will need to carry out a formal assessment of your circumstances to decide whether any further duties to permanently accommodate you are owed by the council. This will also assess whether you are in priority need for accommodation (such as whether your household includes dependent children), if you have done anything or failed to do anything which has led to your homelessness ( such as deliberately failing to pay your rent, or committed anti-social behaviour or crime which led to you being evicted) and if you have a local connection to Amber Valley.

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.

The duty to refer

The duty to refer requires public authorities in England to notify a local housing authority, such as Amber Valley Borough Council, of service users they think may be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Charitable and voluntary groups are also welcome to refer such cases to us.

Please complete the online form below to notify us of such cases, so we can provide the appropriate support to the household.

If you wish to refer someone to us, you must get their permission first. You can use the referral form at hpa2.org/refer/FHL

Further information and advice on homelessness and the legal 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.

Need further help or information?

Contact the team directly on 01773 841400 or email housing.solutions@ambervalley.gov.uk