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Birmingham City Council

FAQ Housing Pathways

What do you mean by ‘housing pathways’?
The housing pathways service helps certain groups of people who need specialist support to access housing in Birmingham. Our staff will conduct a thorough assessment of your needs and offer you advice and information about the range of housing options that are available to you.

Our housing pathways staff can support you through the process of applying for housing and settling in to your new home.

How do I access the housing pathways service?
How can housing pathways help me to access housing?
What proofs do I need to support my housing application?
What if I can’t provide any proofs?
Why do you ask home owners to provide estate agents’ evaluations of the value of their home?
I have a criminal record. Will anybody else see my application?
What happens if I have current rent arrears?
What happens if I have an ASBO?
How long will it take for me to be added to the housing register?
How long will it take for me to be offered a property?
What position am I on the waiting list?
My children are coming to live with me. Can I have a two or three bedroom property?
Can I bring my pets to live with me?
What happens if I do not like the property that you have offered me?
How long will I have to wait until I get another offer if I refuse the first offer?
How many offers will I receive and in what period of time?
What happens if I move before I am made an offer?
Who do I need to contact about my application?
How often do I need to call for an update?
I heard that the allocation scheme has changed, what happened?
How does Birmingham Home Choice work?
What is the Resettlement Support Service?
How do I access the Resettlement Support Service?
Do you provide hostel accommodation?
I have been given a week’s notice to leave, what do I do?
How can I become involved in helping to monitor the housing pathways service?
How else can I share my views about the housing pathways service?
Who do I contact for more information about housing pathways?


How do I access the housing pathways service?

In the majority of cases, you will need to be referred to us by another agency, such as Adults and Communities, Children, Young People and Families, the police, the Probation Service and the Drug Intervention Programme (DIP). The Housing Pathways Team has service agreements set up with these agencies.

However, if you are leaving – or have left – the armed forces, you can apply directly to the Housing Pathways Team to access the service.

How can housing pathways help me to access housing?
You will be allocated a support worker who will sit down with you to discuss your housing needs. If you are eligible for council housing, they will help you to complete a housing application form and keep in touch with progress on your application.

Council properties are allocated on the basis of your housing need, which is measured in terms of points. For example, you can be given points based on the quality or stability of your current living conditions, if you have a medical condition or because you have been referred by a social worker. Your support worker will ensure that all of your needs are assessed so that you get all of the points you are entitled to.

To find out more about our points allocations, please see the Allocations Summary

What proofs do I need to support my housing application?
You need several proofs to support your housing application:

  • proof of identification – one proof confirming your identity and two proofs confirming your current address dated within the last three months
  • proof of local connection to Birmingham (if applicable)
  • proofs of addresses that you and all household members have lived at over the past two years
  • one proof of identity for all people included in the application
  • proof that any member of the household is pregnant
  • proof of residency for children not currently residing with you
  • proof of any care/support provided or received by/for household members
  • proof of income for yourself and partner
  • proof of dividends, bonds and other forms of savings/investments.

What if I can’t provide any proofs?
We cannot process your application without having all of the relevant proofs. Your support worker should be able to advise you if you have any problems.

Why do you ask home owners to provide estate agents’ evaluations of the value of their home?
We gather this information as part of your initial housing application when we are measuring your housing need. Your financial situation will form part of the assessment.

If you are currently a home owner and you are asking for support with housing, we need to determine how much equity you have in your current property. If you have more than £50,000 equity in your current home, you may be subject to 90% less preference on the housing register. This is because you will be considered to have sufficient resources to make your own arrangements for rehousing.

I have a criminal record. Will anybody else see my application?
Your application will be assessed by a housing officer and any sensitive information will be treated carefully. We will not disclose your convictions to third parties unless requested to do so by the police for public protection purposes.

What happens if I have current rent arrears?
We can reduce the number of housing points that you have been allocated if you owe money to the housing department, depending on the size of the arrears and the length of time owed.

If we decide to reduce your points, we will write to you and let you know that we are reducing your points and tell you why. If you would like to challenge our decision, you can appeal and ask for our decision to be reviewed. Contact your local housing office or neighbourhood office to do this.

We will look at your situation every six or 12 months, depending on the reason why we have reduced your points. If your circumstances change before your application is due for review and you think that you should no longer have a reduction in your points, you should complete a change of circumstances form which is available from your local neighbourhood office.

What happens if I have an ASBO?
We can reduce the number of housing points that you have been allocated if you have caused a nuisance to others. This will depend on the nature of your antisocial behaviour and when it occurred.

If we decide to reduce your points, we will write to you and let you know that we are reducing your points and tell you why. If you would like to challenge our decision, you can appeal and ask for our decision to be reviewed. Contact your local housing office or neighbourhood office to do this.

How long will it take for me to be added to the housing register?
We will assess your application for housing within four weeks of receiving your application and all your supporting information. Once we have assessed your application, we will then place you on the housing register and tell you and your support worker how many housing points you have been allocated. Therefore, it could take up to five weeks for you to be added to the housing register.

How long will it take for me to be offered a property?
Once you are on the housing register, we cannot say how long it will take for you to be offered a property. The order of the waiting list changes daily as people are added to the register, so it will depend on the urgency of your housing need and what property types and locations you are willing to accept. Some property types and locations are very popular so the more flexible you can be, the quicker a suitable offer can be made.

What position am I on the waiting list?
We can tell you your position on the waiting list when you ask us, but this can change every day as new people are added to the housing register. You will have been told how many points you have been allocated after your application is assessed.

My children are coming to live with me. Can I have a two- or three-bedroom property?
The size of the home that you are eligible for is usually based on the number of people in your household and their age, sex and relationship to each other. A couple or single person with two children may be eligible for a two- or three-bedroom home, depending on the ages and sex of the children.

However, due to the limited availability of family-sized homes we cannot take children from current or former relationships into account if the applicant does not have equal responsibility for care and control of the child(ren). Any court orders regarding children will form part of the assessment we carry out. For example, an applicant whose children stay or would stay with him or her at weekends can only be made an offer of a one-bedroom home.

Can I bring my pets to live with me?
You can bring pets to live with you. However, as part of your conditions of tenancy you cannot allow your pets to cause a nuisance to other tenants, e.g. by making noise or fouling communal areas.

What happens if I do not like the property that you have offered me?
If you do not like the offer made, you can refuse it. However, you then need to amend your housing application to reflect the type / location of the property that you are seeking. This is so that we do not offer you another property that is unsuitable for the same reasons.

How long will I have to wait until I get another offer if I refuse the first offer?
We cannot confirm how long you will have to wait for any offers. People are being added to the housing register every day and this will affect your priority for housing offers (see above).

How many offers will I receive and in what period of time?
You will be made a maximum of three offers within a rolling 12 month period.

What happens if I move before I am made an offer?
If you would still like to be considered for council housing, you will need to complete a new housing application form so that we can assess your housing need at your new address.

If you no longer wish to be considered for council housing, you will need to notify us that you no longer need your place on the housing register.

In either case, please contact your support worker or telephone the Housing Pathways Team on 0121 675 2674.

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Who do I need to contact about my application?
You can contact your support worker or telephone the Housing Pathways team on 0121 675 2674.

How often do I need to call for an update?
We will keep in touch with your support worker so they will keep you updated. Please bear in mind that it will take up to five weeks to place you on the housing register once you have made your application. We will get in touch as soon as we have suitable properties to offer you.

If you have any concerns, please do call your support worker and they will be able to advise further.

I heard that the allocation scheme has changed. What has happened?
In 2010, Birmingham City Council implemented a Choice Based Lettings (CBL) scheme, Birmingham Home Choice. Instead of waiting for the council to offer you properties, we advertise the properties that we have available and you can use your housing need points to ‘bid’ for the homes you are interested in.

Everyone on the council’s housing register has been transferred to Birmingham Home Choice. All new applicants will automatically join the new scheme. We will write to you with more information when you are added onto the housing register.

How does Birmingham Home Choice work?
When we write to you to tell you more about the scheme, we will also give you an up to date record of your housing need points as well as a user ID and PIN number to access the scheme. You will then be able to bid on available properties, which will be advertised online, as well as in a printed newsletter that will be made available in neighbourhood offices and libraries.

You will be able to bid for properties online, over the telephone or by SMS text messaging on your mobile phone.

You will be able to get assistance from a number of access sites across the city.

To find out more about Birmingham Home Choice, please see visit the web site www.birminghamhomechoice.org.uk.

Do you provide hostel accommodation?
The housing department does not provide hostel accommodation for rehousing. However, if you make a homeless application (via your local neighbourhood office) and you are in urgent need of temporary accommodation, you may be offered space in a hostel.

Please see our Help for Homeless People FAQs for more information on making homeless applications.

I have been given a week’s notice to leave, what do I do?
If you are currently living in a privately rented property, your notice period should be specified in your contract. If you are entitled to a longer notice period, your landlord may be breaching your contract and you can seek advice from the Private Tenancy Unit by telephoning 0121 303 5070.

If you are at risk of becoming homeless, you can make a homeless application by contacting your local neighbourhood office.

How can I become involved in helping to monitor the housing pathways service?
Yes you can – we value feedback from customers as it helps us to improve and develop our services. If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved please telephone the Housing Pathways Team on 0121 675 2674.

How else can I share my views about the housing pathways service?
Please email your comments to: housingpathways@birmingham.gcsx.gov.uk or write to Housing Pathways Team, Birmingham City Council, PO Box 13254B1, Birmingham B15 1DL.

Who do I contact for more information about housing pathways?
You can telephone the Housing Pathways team by telephone on 0121 675 2674, or email housingpathways@birmingham.gov.uk.

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