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Homelessness - what the Council can do

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If you think that you may have to leave your present home, please get in touch for advice as soon as you can. We may be able to help you keep your home. If you are about to become homeless, the sooner you tell us the more we will be able to do.

People are homeless if:

  • They have nowhere to stay that night;
  • They have been staying where they have no legal right to remain;
  • They have a home but are afraid to live there because of threats of violence;
  • They have nowhere they can live with their family or the people with whom they normally live.

If any of these circumstances apply, or are likely to apply within the next 28 days, then Ipswich Borough Council must provide you with assistance.

However, the Council only has a legal duty to find housing for certain people. This is detailed under the Housing Act 1996, Part VII as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002.

In the first instance you must be eligible for assistance. Most households will be, but if you are subject to immigration control you will need to ask for more information.

You can visit us at the Customer Service Centre or contact us by phone, post or email.

Priority Need

The law states that certain people have a Priority Need. Some examples of people who are considered to be in Priority Need are:

  • Those who have children;
  • Those who are pregnant;
  • Those who are vulnerable as a result of mental or physical illness or disability;
  • Those who are vulnerable as a result of losing their accommodation due to violence or threats of violence.

Vulnerable people include:

  • The elderly;
  • People with a physical disability;
  • People who have a mental illness or disability;
  • People without children who have suffered violence;
  • Young people;
  • Ex members of HM Forces;
  • Ex prisoners.

Each case is assessed individually. Please speak to a Housing Options Officer for more advice.

If you are not considered to be in Priority Need the Council does not have a legal duty to provide you with temporary accommodation if you become homeless. You will be given advice and assistance about how to find somewhere to live.

Further help can be obtained by contacting Shelter, a charity that works to alleviate the distress caused by homelessness. The advice pages on their website offer information for anyone with a housing-related problem.

Intentionally Homeless

When assessing your case, the Council will consider if you are intentionally homeless.

People who are intentionally homeless are people who have deliberately done something, or failed to do something, that results in them losing their accommodation.

If you have a Priority Need but are considered intentionally homeless, the council will only arrange accommodation for a reasonable amount of time (for example 28 days) in order to allow you to find your own accommodation.

Local Connection

To have a local connection to Ipswich you, or anyone who normally lives with you, must have:

  • Lived in Ipswich for a certain time;
  • A permanent job in Ipswich;
  • Certain family associations with Ipswich;
  • Other special circumstances.

If you are in priority need and not intentionally homeless, but do not have a local connection to Ipswich, the council will usually ask another local authority to find accommodation for you, in a place where you do have a local connection.

Accommodation

If you have a Priority Need, are not intentionally homeless and do have a local connection with Ipswich, the Council can make accommodation available to you.

The Council's duty to accommodate you will continue until one of the following circumstances occurs:

  • You cease to be 'eligible' for assistance;
  • You become homeless intentionally from the accommodation made available to you;
  • You accept an offer of accommodation through the council's Housing Register (Part VI - Housing Act 1996);
  • You accept an offer of an Assured Tenancy from a private landlord;
  • You voluntarily vacate the accommodation made available to you;
  • You refuse an offer of accommodation through the council's Housing Register having been informed of the consequences;
  • You accept an offer of a suitable Assured Shorthold tenancy from a private landlord.

All secure Council and Housing Association tenancies are allocated by means of Housing Registers (sometimes called Waiting Lists).

Further information is available in the Ipswich Homelessness Strategy.

Contact Details

Ipswich Borough Council,
Housing Options,
3E Grafton House,
15-17 Russell Road,
Ipswich,
IP1 2DE

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01473 433033