In 2017, parliament passed the HRA. This is changing how we help people or households who are or may become homeless.
The new law focuses on preventing homelessness happening in the first place, and reduces the need for people to go into emergency or temporary accommodation. It also aims to deliver better outcomes for single homeless people.
From 3 April 2018, any person or household who asks us for help if they are homeless or are at risk of being homeless receives support under the new rules. This means that:
We must support you to resolve your homelessness, but this does not mean that we'll will accommodate you. If we're unable to stop you becoming homeless we'll assist you to find an alternative home.
If we're unable to do so and you remain homeless then those in priority need have a right to be rehoused, which is likely to be in temporary accommodation. Non-priority households will not be entitled to further help.
Helpful guidance explaining these changes can be found here:
Everyone is entitled to housing advice and information about homelessness, and preventing homelessness. This is available free of charge to everyone in Luton.
Our advice will include information on:
If you need further help, then we’ll need to decide if you’re eligible. We’ll need to look at:
If you're ‘not eligible’ you'll be given advice about how you can find other accommodation. We’ll put you in contact with other organisations that may be able to help you.
If you have dependent or vulnerable family members, we're likely to refer you to social services who will assess your needs more closely.
Helpful guidance is available here:
If you're eligible we'll carry out an assessment of your circumstances if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days.
This will identify what has caused your homelessness or threat of homelessness. We'll assess what your housing needs are and any support needs you may have, in order to be able to secure and retain accommodation.
We'll work with you to develop a personalised housing plan which will include the actions (or ‘reasonable steps’) to be taken by us and by you to try to prevent or relieve your homelessness.
The Homeless Reduction Act 2017 introduced a new requirement on certain named public bodies to notify the council of services users who they think are homeless or threatened with becoming homeless within 56 days, to a local authority of the service users choice.
The following public authorities have the duty to refer:
If you are part of an organisation, whether it is specified above or not, please fill in the form below to refer somebody and send to email@example.com.
Upon receipt of a referral, we'll investigate and establish whether the client should submit a full housing application.
’We will take reasonable steps to help you if you are threatened with homelessness. We’ll do everything that we can to help you to remain in your current home (if it is safe to do so). If we’re unable to keep you in your home we’ll try to help you to secure an alternative.
The prevention duty usually continues for 56 days unless it’s brought to an end by an event such as accommodation being secured for you, or by you becoming homeless.
If you're already homeless, or become homeless despite steps taken during the prevention stage, we'll focus on continuing to help you to secure accommodation. This relief duty lasts for 56 days unless it is ended in another way.
If we have reason to believe you may be eligible for assistance and have a priority need we'll provide you with interim accommodation while we continue to work with you to find a new home.
If homelessness is not successfully prevented or relieved, we'll owe you what is called the main housing duty if you're:
Under the main housing duty, we must ensure that suitable accommodation is available for you and your household until the duty is brought to an end. This can be ended in several ways such as an offer of suitable accommodation in the private sector.
The duty can also be brought to an end for other reasons, for example as a result of you turning down a suitable offer of temporary accommodation or because you are no longer eligible for assistance.
You’re considered to be in priority need if:
While we look in more detail at your homeless application, we may provide you with temporary accommodation.
But we don’t own many empty houses or flats, so it’s much more likely that you’ll go to another type of property for a time.
We have a responsibility to help particular types of people including:
Expand this tabs below to find out how we can help people from these groups.
If you’re leaving prison and are homeless or threatened with homelessness, then you may want to seek advice and support from our Housing Solutions service - contact details can be found at the bottom of this page.
We’ll help to identify your support needs and work with you to relieve your homelessness by developing a personal housing plan. This will identify actions that need to be carried out by yourself and us. It may include:
We’ll need to determine if you’re eligible for assistance. If you’re offered an appointment you must bring with you:
Also, you will need to provide a risk assessment from your probation officer if you have one.
If you're a former member of the armed forces who is now homeless, or if you're planning to leave the armed forces and facing the threat of becoming homeless, you may wish to approach the Housing Solutions service for assistance and advice. Contact details can be found at the bottom of this page.
If you approach us for assistance, we'll consider:
If you make a housing register application you may qualify under the armed forces local residence exceptions.
If you're homeless or threatened with homelessness and are due to be discharged from hospital soon, it's important that you inform hospital staff immediately. They'll be able to arrange for appropriate support.
An assessment will take place in order to determine whether you:
We're able to give housing advice and provide you with the best suited 'personal housing plan' to prevent or relieve your homelessness. We'll:
If hostel, refuge or other forms of temporary accommodation are required, we'll identify the most suitable options and search for availability.
If you're a care leaver with a local connection to Luton, you may be able to get help with housing, although this will be dependent on your age and circumstances.
The vast majority of care leavers in Luton should not need to approach a homeless service as this will be prevented by a planned move to independence with your personal advisor from the Leaving Care team.
You may be offered short term supported housing to gain the skills to live independently and then be moved on into independent accommodation.
In some cases, if your personal advisor believes that you already have the skills to manage your own home, we may help you to move into your own independent accommodation.
However there are circumstances in which you may not meet all of the criteria.
Mental ill-health can affect anyone, and people threatened with homelessness or sleeping rough face adverse weather conditions, fear and isolation. All of these can contribute to decreased mental health
We work with other relevant statutory and non-statutory service providers to take reasonable steps to prevent your homelessness and provide you with meaningful support.
There are several local organisations and mental health service that can help.
If you’re suffering from domestic abuse, there is help available. We’ll give you advice on what to do if you are unable to stay in your home because of domestic abuse. Contact the Housing Solutions team - details at the bottom of the page.
Domestic abuse includes any incident of violence, threatening or controlling behaviour. The abuse can be psychological, physical, social, financial, or emotional. Domestic abuse can happen between two people who are or were intimate partners or family members, regardless of their gender or sexuality.
If you’re in fear of a partner, ex-partner or member of your family, you might be experiencing domestic abuse.
If you’re a woman you can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
If you’re a man experiencing domestic abuse you can contact the Men's Advice Line on 0808 801 0327.
If you're in a same-sex relationship you can call the National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline (GALOP) on 0800 999 5428.
All these services offer you the opportunity to talk confidentially to someone about your situation and find out what your options are. There's a wide range of support available including:
They also offer a programme for perpetrators of domestic abuse who want help in changing their behaviour.
You can apply to Luton for assistance to remain safely in your home. These include options like:
If it's not safe for you to remain in your home we'll give you advice and assistance to find somewhere else to live, and in some cases you may be entitled to emergency accommodation.
You may be asked for supporting evidence, which could include details and dates of incidents. You can bring a friend or an adviser with you for support.
You're strongly advised not to give up your home permanently until you've spoken to an adviser and considered all your options.