Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Help for homeless households

Overview

If you believe you have nowhere to live or are about to lose your home, our Homeless Service may be able to help.

We can provide you with advice and information on a range of options to help to stop you becoming homeless, and if you do become homeless, we may be able to help you find a home. At the same time we will assess whether Birmingham City Council owes any duty to help you under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002).

Homeless services are delivered from four offices across Birmingham:

- Newtown Customer Service Centre
- Erdington Customer Service Centre
- Northfield Customer Service Centre
- Sparkbrook Customer Service Centre - now at the Community and Health Centre on Grantham Road, B11 1LU

Visit one of these offices if you:

- want to make a homeless application
- need help to prevent you from becoming homeless
- have nowhere to stay and need temporary accommodation.

In emergencies, outside of office hours, you can contact the Homeless Service on 0121 303 2296.

Birmingham City Council also runs a youth hub in partnership with St Basils for young people aged 16-21 who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

You can get general housing advice from our citywide network of Neighbourhood Offices. You can also visit any office for information about Home Options, our Homeless Prevention Service.

Essential Information
  • If you think you are at risk of losing your home, please come to see us as soon as you can.

    We have a range of options available to help you avoid becoming homeless, or to help you if you become homeless. These include:

    • giving you advice on problems with your landlord
    • helping you to rent privately
    • debt advice
    • support for victims of domestic violence.

    The sooner you come to see us, the more likely it is that we will be able to help you. We will also check if we owe you any statutory duties as a homeless person.


    If you think you are at risk of losing your home, you should apply to join our Housing Register as soon as you can. You can do this by completing a Housing Application Form (attached below or available from your local Neighbourhood Office).

    Find out more about Home Options, our homeless prevention service.

  • Homeless applications can only be made from the four offices listed above and our Youth Hub. You will need to visit one of these in order to access the Homeless Service.

    If you need temporary accommodation, you will need to go to one of the listed offices so that we can complete a homeless application with you.


  • If you want to make a homeless application, we will need to collect some information from you. We also want to make sure that you get all the information you need to help you make decisions about your situation. When making a homeless application, you should be prepared to spend most of your day with us.


    When you go to one of the offices where the Homeless Service is available, you will meet of our advisers. They will ask you for some basic information, such as your name and current address. They will also discuss your circumstances with you.


    They will then discuss your options in detail and make referrals to other agencies for you, if this is appropriate. If we take a homeless application from you, a Homeless Service officer will complete the homeless application form with you. They will ask you some detailed questions about your circumstances. You will need to answer the questions fully and honestly. This will help us to investigate your application quickly.


    Our Homeless Service officers are specially trained in the assessment of homeless applications. The officer that you see will usually become your caseworker. They will be responsible for assessing your application and deciding what the outcome of it will be.


    Once we have reached a decision on your application, your Homeless Service officer will write to you to let you know what the outcome is, and what this means.

  • If you meet the statutory criteria and we accept that you are eligible for and need temporary accommodation, we will provide this for you. We are available to assess your need and provide temporary accommodation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    If you need to apply for temporary accommodation, please go to one of the four offices listed, or the Youth Hub. We will complete a homeless application with you and decide whether we have a duty to place you in temporary accommodation. We will make that decision on the same day that you come to us.

    If you need this accommodation outside of office hours, please call 0121 303 2296. We will also arrange for you to see a Homeless Service officer as soon as possible.

    If we agree to provide you with temporary accommodation, we will make you one offer of this accommodation, anywhere in the city.

    Find out more about the temporary accommodation that we provide.

  • When you make a homeless application, we will try to complete our investigations as quickly as we can. We aim to complete our investigations within 33 working days, where possible. A homeless application can result in several outcomes, and each one means we have a different responsibility to you. Some information on what this means is set out below. In addition to these decisions, we also sometimes have a duty to provide Interim Accommodation.

    The information contained in this section is intended to be a guide only. It is not a complete statement of the law. You can obtain your own legal advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor.

    Interim accommodation
    If, when you complete your application, we have reason to believe that you may be eligible for assistance, homeless, and in priority need, then we will provide you with interim accommodation if you want it. This accommodation will be provided to you until we have reached a decision on your homeless application.

    Not eligible
    Homeless services are only available to applicants who are not subject to immigration control. If you are not a British Citizen who has been living in the UK, our officers will investigate your immigration status. If you are found to be under immigration control, we will issue you with a Not Eligible decision. This means that we will not be able to help you and you must leave any interim accommodation that we have provided.

    Not homeless
    Being homeless means not having any accommodation available to you, either here or abroad, that would be reasonable for you to occupy. Our officers will always investigate your housing circumstances to confirm whether you are homeless, or threatened with homelessness. We will issue you with a not homeless decision if, following our investigations, we discover that you have suitable accommodation available to you, or if we have been able to find you a home during the course of our investigation. If we issue you with a not homeless decision then you must leave any interim accommodation that we have provided.
    If you still wish to move, you are welcome to join our housing register, where you may be eligible for other awards to recognise your circumstances. We can also give you help and advice on other ways to move home.

    Homeless, non priority
    If we accept that you are homeless and eligible for help, we will consider whether you have a priority need (see below for more information). We will consider all of the circumstances that you disclose to us. If, following our investigations, we decide that you do not have a priority need, we will write to you to tell you why. If we make this decision, you will be asked to leave any interim accommodation we have provided you with. You will, however, be entitled to an award on our housing register to recognise the fact that you are homeless, and you will be able to look for an offer of accommodation using Birmingham Home Choice.

    Intentionally homeless
    If we accept that you are homeless, eligible for help and have a priority need, we will consider whether you have made yourself homeless intentionally. This means looking at whether you have done something (or neglected to do something) that has led to the loss of suitable accommodation. Examples of this could be not paying your rent or breaching the terms of a tenancy agreement.

    If we decide that you are intentionally homeless, we will provide you with temporary accommodation for a reasonable period of time while you consider your options. You will also be eligible for an award on our housing register to recognise the fact that you are homeless, and you will be able to look for an offer of accommodation using Birmingham Home Choice.

    Homeless priority
    If we accept that you are eligible for help, in priority need and have not made yourself intentionally homeless, then we will help you find accommodation.

    We will put your name on our housing register and award you with 140 points to recognise that you are homeless and vulnerable. You will be able to look for an offer of accommodation using Birmingham Home Choice. If you need us to, we will provide you with temporary accommodation while you do this.

    No local connection
    If we accept that you are eligible for help, in priority need and have not made yourself intentionally homeless,, we may also consider whether you have a local connection to Birmingham. In order to have this connection, you will need to have lived in Birmingham for a significant period of time, be employed in Birmingham, or have a close relative, such as a parent or a sibling, living in the city. If you do not have a connection with Birmingham, we may consider asking another local authority where you do have a connection to rehouse you. You will not have to prove to that authority that you meet the homeless criteria again, we will simply transfer your details to them. They may wish to interview you in order to fully understand your needs.

  • Priority need is the term that the Housing Act 1996 uses to define types of people who may be considered vulnerable, in relation to homelessness. If you are classed as having a priority need then you are owed certain duties by your local authority.

    Some categories of vulnerability give you a priority need automatically. These include if you have dependant children, if you or a member of your family is pregnant, 16/17 year olds who are not looked after by Social Services and 18-20 year olds who have been in care between 16 and 18

    The other categories only give a person a priority need if they are vulnerable as a result of falling in to the category. This group includes old age, Physical or Mental disability, being a victim of harassment or violence, having being in the armed forces or having lived in an institution, or being over 21 and having been in care.

    Our officers will investigate if you have a priority need. Where you fall in to the first set of categories, we will establish the details to confirm that your circumstances put you in one of the priority need groups. Where you fall in to the second set of categories, we will investigate your circumstances and apply the current legal tests to determine whether you meet the threshold required to have a priority need.

  • Homeless Service phone: 0121 303 7410

    Emergency out of hours: 0121 303 2296

    Fax: 0121 464 7610

    Email: homelessService@birmingham.gov.uk

    Write:
    Homeless Service
    PO Box 15782
    Birmingham
    B2 2RG

    Youthline phone: 0300 30 30 099

    Email: YPHub@birmingham.gov.uk

Frequently Asked Questions
    • If you have nowhere to stay tonight and need help from Birmingham City Council, you will need to go to one of the four offices listed above. We will help you complete a homeless application and assess whether we have a duty to provide you with temporary accommodation. Young people should go to the Youth Hub.

      We are a very busy service. It is important for customers to come to the office as soon as possible so that we can explore all of their options and provide them with help as quickly as possible. Please note, Birmingham City Council does not have to provide temporary accommodation to everyone. We will always comply with our statutory duty to provide temporary accommodation. Otherwise it is important for you to consider your own options, such as asking friends or relatives to put you up.

      If you need help in an emergency and our offices are closed, you can call our emergency Out of Hours Helpline on 0121 303 2296.

    • We will ask you to provide documentation to prove your circumstances. The quicker you provide this to us, the quicker we can investigate your application. As a minimum, we would ask you to bring:

      • Proof of identity and nationality (eg passport, birth certificate, immigration papers)
      • Proof of residence (eg tenancy agreement, benefit entitlement letter)

      If you believe you have a priority need, we would also ask you to bring proof of this with you, for example, proof of pregnancy, or information about a medical condition. If you have any paperwork relating to your homelessness (e.g. an eviction notice), it would be helpful to bring this as well.

      When you complete the application form, your Homeless Officer may need additional proofs. Please provide these as quickly as you can to help us complete your application.

      We are committed to preventing and detecting all instances of fraud. In accordance with the Fraud Act 2006, a person is guilty of fraud if they are in breach of any of the sections listed in the Act, namely; fraud by false representation, fraud by failing to disclose information, and fraud by abuse of position. This includes trying to obtain services such as temporary accommodation and housing. If we detect fraud we will take criminal action in respect of any offences committed.

      To prevent abuse of the housing register, it is a criminal offence for anyone to try to obtain social housing by knowingly or recklessly giving a false statement or knowingly withholding information. Offences under these provisions are prosecuted in the magistrates court and carry a maximum fine of level five on the standard scale. The landlord may seek possession of a tenancy that was granted as a result of a false statement.

    • If you are not happy with the decision that your Homeless Officer has made, you have the right to request a review of that decision. You will have 21 days from the date of the letter we send you to submit this review. You can do this by going to your local neighbourhood office (www.birmingham.gov.uk/neighoffice), where they will give you a review request form. Alternatively, you can contact the Homeless Service directly.


      We aim to complete reviews within 56 days of receipt. If it is going to take longer, we will contact you.


      If you are currently in temporary accommodation, you will need to contact us if you wish to continue to stay in that accommodation, otherwise we will ask you to leave.

    • If we accept that you have a priority housing need then we will make sure that accommodation is made available to you. Birmingham City Council operates a choice based lettings scheme called Birmingham Home Choice. You will need to use this if you want to be re-housed by us. You can find out more information about Birmingham Home Choice and how to use it the dedicated website www.birminghamhomechoice.org.uk.

      If you need temporary accommodation while you look for a permanent home then we will provide it for you. If you find that you need temporary accommodation, please go to one of the four offices listed, or the Youth Hub, where we will arrange this for you.

      Our duty to re-house you will come to an end if:

      • your immigration status changes so that you are no longer eligible for help
      • you become homeless intentionally from temporary accommodation you have been offered
      • we make you one offer of suitable accommodation
      • you accept a private tenancy that we offer you, and agree that this ends our duty to you
      • you cease to occupy the temporary accommodation that we have made available to you as your principle home.

      If we decide that our duty has come to an end, you will have the opportunity to request a review of that decision.