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Birmingham City Council

Home Options Interview

Overview

If you have housing / tenancy issues or believe you have nowhere to live or about to lose your home we may be able to offer you advice on other options to prevent your homelessness. Home Options is a high quality, multi-agency and homeless prevention scheme.

Essential Information
  • Emergency (during Neighborhood Office Hours)

    If you are in fear of your safety and need to leave your home immediately or have no place to stay tonight and are vulnerable, arrange a Home Options Emergency Accommodation appointment on 0121 303 1111.

    Documents required - You will be required to bring proofs to support your homeless application (see Details of Proofs required). In addition you should bring proof of income e.g. wage slips etc.

    Emergency (Out of Neighbourhood Office hours)

    Contact the Emergency Duty Team on 0121 303 2296 after 4:30pm, if you are walking the streets and have nowhere to go, visit your local police station.

    Non – Emergency

    Telephone the Contact Centre to make an appointment at your local Neighbourhood Office on 0121 303 1111.

    Documents required - You will be required to bring proofs to support their homeless application (see Details of proofs required). In addition they should bring proof of income e.g. wage slips etc.

  • Proofs required in Support of Homeless Application

    You will need to bring:

    • One category 1 document
    • One category 2 document
    • One category 4 document
    • AND one document from the other categories if applicable.
    Category – 1 Acceptable Proofs
    Proof of Identification
    • Passport (current and valid);
    • National Insurance Card;
    • Medical Card;
    • Recent Utility Bills;
    • Benefit Book;
    • Birth Certificate;
    • Marriage Certificate;
    • Driving Licence;
    • EC/EEA Identity Card;
    • Home Office Papers;
    • Life Insurance/Assurance Policy;
    • Bank Statement;
    • Divorce Papers;
    • Letter from Official Authority.

    Category - 2 Acceptable Proofs
    Proof of National Insurance Number Please provide originals)
    • Benefits Books;
    • Any official document displaying National Insurance Number.

    Category - 3 Acceptable Proofs
    Proof of Immigration Status Person granted Refugee Status or Leave to Remain
    • Home office Letter/Passport granting Indefinite Leave to remain;
    • Home Office Letter granting Discretionary Leave;
    • Home Office Letter granting Humanitarian Protection;
    • Home Office Letter granting Exceptional Leave to Remain.

    NASS Support terminated

    • NASS 35.

    Person receiving NASS support as an Asylum Seeker:

    • ARC Card;
    • Home Office IS 96;
    • SAL1 and SAL2.

    Category - 4 Acceptable Proofs
    Proof of Homeless Address Any documents listed for "Proof of Identification" which also show homeless address

    Or

    If staying with relatives/friends letter from relative/friend confirming dates you have lived there.


    Category - 5 Acceptable Proofs
    Proof of Dependants (Please Provide Originals)
    • Child Benefit Book;
    • Birth Certificate;
    • DWP Child Tax Credit Letter.

    Category - 6 Acceptable Proofs
    Non Dependant Residency/Relationship
    • Letter from non dependant (Aged 16 or Over who is Not in Full Time Education/Whom Child Benefit is Not Received).

    Category - 7 Acceptable Proofs
    Proof of Sale/Repossession
    • Signed sale contract and breakdown of equity;
    • Repossession Court Documents.

    Category - 8 Acceptable Proofs
    Proof of Tenancy/Licence Agreement
    • Copy of tenancy contract/agreement between tenant and landlord;
    • Letter from landlord/landlord's agent;
    • Rent Book.

    Category - 9 Acceptable Proofs
    Proof of Notice to Vacate
    • Written notice from landlord;
    • Notice to Quit;
    • Warrant of Possession.

    Category - 10 Acceptable Proofs
    Proof of Joint Residency/Child Access Arrangements
    • Letter from person with main parent responsibility;
    • Court Order;
    • Child Protection letter (Social Services and Children, Young People & families).

    Category - 11 Acceptable Proofs
    Proof of Divorce/Legal Separation
    • Letter form solicitor or legal representatives;
    • Decree NISI;
    • Decree Absolute;
    • Legal Separation papers.

    Category - 12 Acceptable Proofs
    Proof of Pregnancy
    • Mat B1 from GP or Hospital (or equivalent).
  • The Home Options Service provides quality housing advice and options by working in partnership in order to resolve housing issues and prevent homelessness.

    St. Basils

    St Basils provide a specialised service for 16-25 year olds. They work with young people to build their confidence and help them learn the skills to find and keep a home. St Basils helps young people to find their own tenancy, and provides ongoing support in setting up and maintaining these tenancies to provide long-term solutions to homelessness.

    They also offer advice and assistance on a range of issues, such as helping young people become independent through employment and education.

    Birmingham & Solihull Women's Aid

    Birmingham & Solihull Women's Aid help households experiencing domestic abuse or violence. They can help people to:

    • Move out immediately;
    • Find alternative accommodation;
    • Ensure people are getting the correct legal advice and assistance;
    • Plan a safe and sustainable move to alternative accommodation, when they feel ready to do so.

    Private Tenancy Unit

    The Home Options Service also offers help to private tenants, for example if you are having problems with your landlord, or if you need advice about tenancy rights and issues.

    The Private Tenancy Unit can make sure that landlords don't break the law when evicting tenants. If you feel that your landlord isn't doing their job properly, our private tenancy officers can speak to the landlord and advise them of their responsibilities to their tenants.

    Local Housing Team

    If you are a tenant of Birmingham City Council then your local Housing Officer will be able to help you with any problems you have to do with your home. Your Local Housing Team will be able to assist on any issues relating to the tenancy, from antisocial behaviour to a change in personal circumstances.

    The Homeless Service

    Where Homelessness cannot be prevented, the Homeless Service will take a homeless application. The team will assess the application and make a decision on homeless status. The team are able to provide temporary accommodation, where appropriate, and will be in charge of monitoring the case until Birmingham City Council’s duties are discharged.

Frequently Asked Questions
    • The majority of customers will have a home options interview prior to any homeless reports being completed.

      During the appointment, the Neighbourhood Office Advisor will discuss circumstances with you and help you to identify the best options available to you. Potential options include:

      • An income maximisation interview with Neighbourhood Office advisor to ensure that all welfare benefits are claimed, check housing benefit and / or council tax benefit is correctly awarded, assess and assist with DHP applications etc
      • Referral to local Housing Team (for Council Tenants)
      • Referral to the Birmingham City Council’s Debt team (for complex debt enquiries)
      • Referral to Domestic Violence projects
      • Referral to Birmingham’s Homeless Service
      • Referral to Birmingham’s Private Tenancy Unit (to confirm the validity of notices to vacate and also liaise between tenants and landlords
      • Referral to St.Basil’s - this option is only available to applicants between the age of 16 and 25
      • Dealing with financial issues such as rent arrears and liaising with the Benefit service
    • The Housing Department has a duty to offer accommodation where there is reason to believe that the applicant may be homeless and have nowhere to stay, are eligible for assistance and may have a priority need.

      The priority categories are:

      • Households with dependant children;
      • Expectant mother;
      • Applicants aged 16 / 17 years old;
      • Applicants who were formerly in care aged 18—20 years old;
      • Currently homeless because of an emergency (fire, flood and so on);
      • Vulnerable due to old age;
      • Vulnerable due to mental illness or learning disability;
      • Vulnerable due to having been in custody / on remand;
      • Vulnerable due to violence / threats of violence—non-domestic violence;
      • Vulnerable due to domestic violence;
      • Vulnerable due to physical disability;
      • Vulnerable as ex-HM Forces personnel;
      • Other special reason.

      If the applicant fall into one of the ‘vulnerable’ groups, we will need to assess as to what extent your circumstances make them vulnerable—they will not automatically be accepted as priority.

      Homeless services are a ‘safety net’ for those in genuine emergency. They are not an alternative to the application and transfer process which meet general housing need. You are unlikely to be accepted as homeless if, for example, you have been burgled, or are in dispute with your neighbours. If you are experiencing difficulties with your property we will try to help you, but if you give up your home without good reason you may be regarded as having made yourself intentionally homeless.