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When you tell us you’re homeless or worried about becoming homeless

When you tell us you’re homeless or worried about becoming homeless

What help you can get from us, including information about homelessness assessments and personal housing plans.

When you tell us you’re homeless or worried about becoming homeless within the next 8 weeks (56 days) we’ll discuss your situation and needs with you.

We may be able to give some advice straight away, or we’ll arrange for you to come and see us for an assessment of your situation.

Homelessness assessment

Your assessment will be at our Citizen Service Point. It will take between one and two hours.

You must bring proof of your:

  • identity, such as your passport or ID card
  • eviction notice and tenancy agreement, if you’ve been asked to leave by your landlord
  • income, such as bank statements, wage slips or proof of all benefits
  • children, such as your child benefit or tax credit letter and birth certificates
  • pregnancy, such as a letter from your doctor or midwife, or your MATB1 form
  • medical conditions, such as a letter from your doctor or hospital or copies of your prescriptions
  • immigration status, such as a passport or other document that shows you have the right to live in the UK

How many of these you need to bring will depend on your circumstances.

What happens at your assessment

A Housing Advisor will see you at our Citizen Service Point.

They'll talk to you about your situation and make a Personal Housing Plan if the Housing Advisor agrees that you’re at risk of homelessness.

It’s important for you to be open and honest at your assessment so we can give you the right advice and support.

After your assessment you'll get a letter telling you about the Council’s decision and why the decision was made. You have the right to request a review of that decision within 21 days. If you're not at risk of homelessness we can still provide general housing advice. 

Your Personal Housing Plan

Your Personal Housing Plan will include actions that you and your Housing Advisor will agree to take.

You may agree to:

  • contact your landlord to try to resolve particular issues
  • fill in forms, such as an income and expenditure form, which will show us how much money you spend or have coming  in
  • keep a record of any actions you’ve taken
  • contact any family or friends to ask them to let you stay temporarily

Your Housing Advisor may:

  • give you advice about your rights as a tenant
  • talk to your family or friends if they’ve told you to leave
  • help you make a claim for housing benefit or discretionary housing payments
  • help you find private rented accommodation
  • refer you to other organisations for specialist advice and support, such as the NHS, welfare benefits or debt advice

What you must do

You must:

  • cooperate as much as you can while we help you to sort out your housing problem
  • tell us if any of your circumstances change, such as a change to your benefits or the number of people in your household

We won’t be able to help if you:

  • refuse to work with us
  • don't carry out the tasks agreed in your Personal Housing Plan

After your assessment

After your assessment you must try your best to take the actions in your Personal Housing Plan.

Your Housing Advisor will also take the actions they’ve agreed to.

Temporary accommodation

We might find you temporary accommodation  while we look at your homeless application. This will depend on your personal circumstances.

Getting a council property

Unfortunately getting a council property is very difficult, even if you’re homeless.

There are approximately 12,000 households in Bristol who are currently on the waiting list for council housing and very few available council properties.

If your Personal Housing Plan hasn’t worked

If the actions in your Personal Housing Plan haven’t been successful, we may still be able to help.

We call this extra help the ‘main housing duty’.

How to qualify for the main housing duty

To qualify for the main housing duty, you need to:

  • be eligible for help
  • be legally homeless
  • be in priority need
  • have become homeless through no fault of your own
  • have a local connection to Bristol

The Shelter website explains this in more detail.

If you qualify for the main housing duty

Under the main housing duty, the Council must ensure that suitable accommodation is available for the applicant and their household until the duty is brought to an end, usually through the offer of a settled home.

As there's a very limited supply of social housing in Bristol, the offer of a settled home includes the offer of a suitable tenancy for at least 12 months from a private landlord.