Housing Options Service
If you are homeless, or you are worried about becoming homeless, you should contact our Housing Options and Service as soon as possible. You can often avoid becoming homeless if you act quickly and get the right help.
The Housing Options Service provides advice and assistance for Copeland residents who are in housing need or at risk of homelessness.
• Caseworkers will discuss your circumstances and explore the different options that are available to you
• We try to help people remain in their homes wherever possible, whether you are a council tenant, private tenant, homeowner or living with friends and family
Immediate advice about your housing options
Contact our duty advisor to get immediate advice about your realistic housing options. We will ask you some basic questions about you and your current housing to make sure you get the right help. We might need to book an appointment for you to see a housing options advisor.
What if I still become homeless?
If we can't prevent you from becoming homeless, we will carry out an assessment as required under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996.
This will help us decide if we have a duty to provide you with emergency/interim or temporary accommodation. Often we will start this assessment at your first appointment.
If you see someone sleeping rough in your area, please let us know here
Are you worried about becoming homeless or losing your home?
Making an appointment with our Housing Options Service
To make an appointment to see a Housing Options Advisor, telephone our Housing Options Service (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).
You can also send an email and an advisor will reply to you with your appointment details.
What if I can't get to the office?
Tell us if you would have difficulty getting to the office when you are requesting an appointment – we will arrange a home visit.
Can I visit the Housing Options Service without an appointment?
Only consider dropping in if there is a good reason why you cannot make an appointment. This is because we want to provide you with the best possible service.
Don't forget your documents
Remember to bring your passport, other forms of identification and proof of your recent addresses when you visit us. This will help us ensure that we give you the correct advice and support.
What will happen at the appointment?
At the appointment, the advisor will discuss your circumstances in detail and will ask you to explain why you are worried about becoming homeless or how you have become homeless. If you have nowhere to stay that night, you will usually be able to see an advisor the same day.
We will always look at ways to help you avoid losing your home by giving you advice about dealing with benefit and debt problems, mortgage or rent arrears and tenant or landlord rights. If appropriate, we can talk to your landlord or lender on your behalf. We will also look at other possible housing options.
For most people who are experiencing problems with their housing, finding private rented accommodation will be the most realistic option to avoid becoming homeless, and the council may be able to help you with this.
Documents that we need to assess your case
In order for us to assess your homelessness case quickly and process your application without delay, you should bring with you as many of the following documents as possible.
You need to bring documents for all members of your household.
Not all of the documents will apply to your situation, but the more you can provide, the easier it will be for us to make a decision on your application. The useful documents are:
- Proof of all your addresses over the past five years
- Antenatal records
- Birth certificates
- Medical cards
- Doctor's details
- Hospital details
- School details
- Marriage certificates
- Custody documents
- Divorce paperwork
- Written notice from landlord, friends or relatives
- Notice to quit, court order or bailiff's warrant
- Building society letters
- Solicitor or legal adviser's letters
- Rent book or receipts
- Bank statements
- Building society statements
- Wage slips - five if paid weekly, two if paid monthly
- Income Support book
- Child Benefit book
- Other benefit books
- Supporting statements from other agencies
- Discharge papers
- License documents
- Immigration documents
You should also let us know if you or any member of your family has any medical problems that may affect your case. Please discuss this with your assessment officer.
If necessary we will write to your doctor, with your consent, for confirmation of any medical condition
Are you worried about becoming homeless or losing your home?
Are you eligible for help with homelessness?
When you apply for help due to homelessness, we will need to assess whether you are:
- Eligible for assistance
- Homeless or threatened with homelessness
- In priority need
- Not intentionally homeless
Each of these terms has a particular legal meaning, which is explained below.
Eligible for assistance
Some groups of people who have lived abroad are not eligible for help from Copeland Borough Council if they are homeless. We look at the eligibility of all the people included in a homeless application. You will usually be eligible for assistance:
- You live in the UK
- You are a British citizen
- And you have not recently spent time living in other countries
Homeless or threatened with homelessness
In order to decide if you are homeless, we have to look at any accommodation that you have access to, and whether or not you are at risk of homelessness in the next 28 days.
- You can be considered homeless if you have no home in the UK, or anywhere else in the world, where you can live together with your immediate family
- You may also be homeless if the property you live in is no longer suitable or safe for you
In priority need
We will look into your circumstances to decide if you are in priority need according to the homelessness legislation. You will normally be in priority need if you or one of the people included in your application falls into one of the following priority need categories:
- Pregnant women (and people who live with them)
- People who are responsible for dependent children
- People made homeless by fire, flood or other disaster
- Some people aged 16 or 17
- Some care leavers
- Other people who are particularly vulnerable
Not intentionally homeless
We must also assess whether you are 'intentionally homeless'. We may consider you intentionally homeless if you have lost accommodation because of something that you did, or failed to do, which led to you becoming homeless. This could include, but is not limited to:
- Not paying your rent or mortgage
- Being evicted due to anti-social behaviour
- Leaving accommodation where it would have been reasonable for you to remain
Copeland Borough Council is responsible for assisting homeless people who are:
- Copeland residents
- Or who have applied to us for help because it is unsafe for them to live in the area where they usually live
If we find that you do not have a local connection with Copeland Borough Council we may refer you to another council for help.
How long will it take to make a decision?
If you can bring us all the information we need and we can confirm what you have told us, we will be able to make a decision on your application quickly. Where possible we will always try to make a decision within 33 working days.
We will write to you with our decision and if you are unhappy with it you can ask for a review of the decision.
We will include:
- Information about how to request a review
A review must be requested within 21 days.