Homelessness Policy - Housing Options

The Council has implemented a housing options approach, with the introduction of the specialist housing options team.  The aim of the team is to provide information and advice in an attempt to resolve housing issues and prevent them escalating.

The housing options team use a person-centred approach to assess a customer’s needs and abilities.  The intention of this is to:

  • address the underlying cause of homelessness or potential homelessness;
  • identify housing options with the customer which suit their circumstances;
  • provide information and advice and realistic housing solutions; and
  • avert a housing crisis and avoid the customer becoming homeless.

Customers are encouraged to approach the service for assistance as soon as a risk to their current housing situation is identified.  This early intervention will enable the Council to respond effectively to the presenting issues identified.  The earlier the intervention, the greater likelihood there is of a successful resolution.  This in turn will increase the opportunity to avoid any detrimental impact on the customer and their household.

Depending on the customer’s circumstances, it may be possible to resolve housing problems without them becoming homeless.  An initial housing options enquiry will be completed to establish the extent of a customer’s housing crisis and determine if there are any intervention actions that could be taken to allow them to remain in or return to their current accommodation.  This will only apply where the Council is satisfied that the accommodation is reasonable to continue to occupy.  An enquiry may include an interview with customers.  Where possible, interviews will be offered on the same day, or on the next working day, that a customer contacts the Council.

Due to the nature of homelessness, the housing options team may be required to take a lead role in co-ordinating assistance from partner agencies and services in an attempt to secure a successful outcome.  Where necessary, the Council will refer customers to other independent providers of housing, financial or legal services and can offer access to mediation services for family and neighbour disputes and harassment.

View the next section: Inquiries into Decision Making

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