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At risk of becoming homeless

If you’re at risk of losing your home, please contact us as soon as possible for free advice and assistance. Acting early gives us more time to help you.

The most common reasons of homelessness we’re asked to help with are:

  • being asked to leave by friends or parents
  • landlords giving a notice to quit
  • domestic violence and abuse or other harassment
  • relationship breakdown
  • difficulties maintaining rent or mortgage payment.

Where possible, we aim to make sure you remain in your current home by helping at an early stage to help resolve your situation. Our Housing Advice Services team have a duty to prevent homelessness and will seek to understand your current situation and identify what steps we and you can do which could help you stay in your current home.  

Online referral form  

If you’re threatened with homelessness, or are working with a household who may require assistance from our homelessness prevention team, complete an online referral form.

Please note this is not how to apply for social housing. That can be done via the BCP Homechoice Housing Register.

What happens after you submit the form

Once you’ve submitted the form, the information will be transferred to your chosen council. You, or the household you’ve referred, will be contacted within 48 hours.

We’ll carry out an initial assessment with you to determine whether you’re eligible under immigration law to receive assistance and whether you’re threatened with homelessness within 56 days.

If you meet these criteria, our assessment will look at your current housing situation, what support you need to resolve this, and what steps that we and you should carry out to help you remain in your home or secure alternative accommodation.

You may be asked to bring along information relevant to your situation, such as: 

  • your tenancy agreement
  • the notice to quit from your landlord
  •  letters threatening repossession
  • from mortgage lenders court orders.

Also bring with you:

  • identification for all members of your household
  • details of any debts
  • proof of household income, such as wages slips or details of benefits you receive. 

Find out what documents we need to assess homelessness.

Personalised Housing Plan

We’ll produce a Personalised Housing Plan, summarising our understanding of your situation, the steps we both agree to carry out, and the dates they should be completed by.

The plan will be updated when either of us complete a step, or we agree on new steps following changes in your circumstances.

This work is known as our duty to prevent homelessness. This duty to assist you will continue until you secure accommodation, which has reasonable prospect of lasting 6 months or longer, or you become homeless, when a different duty to relieve your homelessness may start.

What we can do to help

We can help by:

  • assisting in negotiations with landlords and mortgage lenders, even if you have a court order to leave your home
  • offering advice on maximising your income and managing debt which could be affecting your ability to afford your current accommodation, including advice on claiming Housing Benefit
  • helping you tackle issues with unfit properties
  • referring you to support services/agencies to help you through difficulties you may be experiencing
  • putting you in touch with other agencies that can offer specialist help, in areas such domestic violence or abuse.

Where it’s not possible to remain in your current home 

If it’s not possible to remain in your current home, we’ll try and help you secure alternative accommodation before you become homeless. We can:

  • refer you to a number of external agencies who may be able to offer you additional support
  • help you search the private rented sector for a new home
  • provide access to schemes which provide financial assistance to help secure homes in the private rented sector subject to certain qualifying criteria (these schemes, often called rent and deposit schemes, operate in each council area but may vary and are dependent on funding available and qualifying criteria)
  • help you apply for social housing through the BCP Homechoice housing register process 
  • provide advice on home ownership schemes
  • refer you to supported housing schemes where these are available and if you meet the necessary criteria.

What happens if I become homeless

If our attempts to prevent your homelessness are unsuccessful, we may continue to work with you under a different duty to 'relieve' your homelessness.

Additional advice

You can also get free, independent housing advice from housing charity Shelter or your local Citizens Advice.

Contact us

To talk to us about housing advice, call 01202 123 147 or email bcphousingadvice@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

Early Prevention Service

Our Early Prevention Service is also here to here to help you as early as possible - before the landlord/agent issues you with notice that they intend to evict.

You’ll receive honest, supportive advice, relevant to your situation:

  • support, advice and guidance when you think you may lose your home
  • a dedicated worker to understand the issues and advise on next steps, visiting as necessary
  • liaison with your landlord or agent on your behalf
  • information about any benefits and loans you may be eligible for and assistance to apply for them
  • guidance about and referral to other organisations that may be able to help
  • signposting to other housing options as needed.

Call the team on 01202 118 600 or email earlyprevention@bcpcouncil.gov.uk.

We’re available Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm and Friday 9am to 3pm.