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Reporting and getting assessing homelessness for rough sleeping

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Request a housing needs assessment

If you apply for help with homelessness, we will assess your needs to see if you are eligible for help.

When you apply for help due to homelessness, we assess whether you are:

  • eligible for assistance
  • homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days
  • in priority need
  • not intentionally homeless.

Each of these terms has a particular legal meaning.

We also consider if you have a local connection to Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole.

Please note, the legal duties are complicated, so the information below is for guidance only.

Eligibility for assistance

You'll usually be eligible for help if you:

  • live in the UK, are a British citizen and have not recently spent time living in other countries
  • have refugee status or indefinite leave to remain in the UK
  • are a citizen of the European Union who is a worker in the UK.

Some other people from abroad are also eligible for assistance, depending on their circumstances.

We look at the eligibility of all members of the household.

Homeless or threatened with homelessness

To decide if you're homeless, we will look at any accommodation that you have access to, and whether you’re at risk of homelessness in the next 56 days.

We may consider you homeless or threatened with homelessness if:

  • you have no home in the UK, or anywhere else in the world, where you can live together with your immediate family
  • the property you live in is no longer suitable or safe for you
  • you have received a notice from your landlord or from the courts.

There may be other reasons that you would be considered homeless or threatened with homelessness.

Prevention duty

If we’re satisfied that you’re eligible for assistance, and threatened with homelessness within 56 days, we have a duty to help you to try and prevent your homelessness.

We will complete an assessment of your needs and provide you with a Personalised Housing Plan (PHP) with the steps you must take to help prevent your homelessness.

Relief duty

If we’re satisfied that you’re eligible for assistance, we have a duty to help you to try and relieve your homelessness. We’ll complete an assessment of your needs and provide you with a PHP with the steps you must take to help relieve your homelessness.

Please note that the following only applies if we’ve accepted a relief duty to you.

Priority need

We’ll consider your circumstances to decide if, according to homelessness legislation, you're in 'priority need'.

If you do not meet the criteria for priority need, we may still have a duty to help, prevent or relieve your homelessness. However, we may not have a duty to provide any temporary accommodation.

Intentionally homeless

In addition to the above, we may also need to assess whether you have become homeless due to your actions or omissions.

Local connection

If we find that you do not have a local connection with the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area, we may refer you to another council for help. We will not refer you to an area where you would not be safe.

Housing needs assessment

If you require a housing needs assessment call our housing options team on 01202 123 147.

If you’re homeless

We want to prevent homelessness wherever we can. If you’re at risk of homelessness, please phone us as early as possible so that we can try to help you stay in your current home. The sooner you let us know, the more we can do to try and help you.

Our housing related support services may be able to help you if you need support to stay in your current accommodation, or if you need accommodation which has onsite support.

What happens if we cannot prevent homelessness

If we cannot help you prevent homelessness, we carry out a homeless assessment to understand if we have a duty to help you.

In some cases, we provide temporary accommodation. We tell you what will happen as part of the overall assessment process.

Get advice If you’re homeless, at risk of homelessness, or want advice on what housing options are available, we're here to help.

Complete an online Homelessness Reduction form.

Email us at

We aim to respond to your request by the end of the next working day.

Use this service to:

  • tell us if you are expecting to be homeless in the next 56 days or have been served notice
  • request an appointment for a housing needs assessment

If you have nowhere safe to sleep tonight, please call us on 01202 123 147.

The Homelessness Reduction Act (Non-Cooperation Procedure)

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 came into force on 3 April 2018. This legislation puts a legal duty on councils to offer more support to a wider range of people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness, and to intervene earlier.

As part of that duty, we’ll work collaboratively with the applicant to produce a Personalised Housing Plan (PHP).

The PHP will contain the reasonable steps that both we and the applicant should take to prevent or relieve homelessness. Applicants are expected to cooperate with us to carry out the reasonable steps identified on PHP.

Failure to cooperate with the reasonable steps may result in us discharging our duty towards an applicant.

Read our Non-Cooperation Procedure.

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