What to Do if You Are Homeless

Image from Apollo22 at Pixabay

As life is getting tougher for so many people, we hope to share information for anyone who finds themselves in crisis. We have taken this information from Homeless Pembrokeshire which does such excellent work with support and advice. Thank you to Amanda C Evans who set up and runs the charity. Find it on Facebook or at 07833096872 or homelesspembrokeshire@gmail.com
How to make a homeless application
If you need to make a homeless application, you can do this by going to Pembrokeshire County Council, County Hall, Haverfordwest SA61 1TP, or by calling 01437 764551 and asking to speak with the duty housing officer, 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. The council should make an appointment for a housing officer to interview you. This should be on the same day if you have nowhere to stay that night. Otherwise, they may ask you to come back on a different day.

HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR APPROACHING YOUR COUNCIL:

  • Choose a day when you have no other appointments as you’ll probably need to wait to be seen.
  • Remember you’re entitled to make a homeless application and you shouldn’t be turned away without the opportunity to make one.
  • Ask for, and keep a note of, the name, phone number, and email address of the housing officer you talk to.
  • Before you leave, try to make sure you are clear about what will happen next.
  • If you can, take a friend or a trusted adult with you for support.

TRY TO TAKE WITH YOU:

  • Identification: ID card, driving licence, birth certificate or passport.
  • Evidence you’re homeless: eviction letter from your landlord or a letter from the person you were living with explaining that you can no longer stay there.
  • Proof of your income: wage slips, bank statements or proof of benefit claim.
  • Evidence of any medical conditions: for example, a letter from your GP.
  • Proof of immigration status: If you are subject to immigration control you will need to take proof of your immigration status.
  • Having these with you will help things go more smoothly, but if you need urgent help and don’t have all the documents, don’t worry – go anyway and sort out the paperwork as soon as you can.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A HOMELESS APPLICATION?

A brief chat with someone at the main desk or reception is not making a homeless application. It should involve speaking with a housing officer who has to look into five specific things:
  • If you’re eligible: if you’re a British citizen, then you are eligible. If not, this doesn’t automatically exclude you but you might need more specialist advice.
  • If you’re homeless: you need to prove this if you can for example by taking a letter from the person you have been staying with.
  • If you’re intentionally homeless: this means if you have done something – or failed to do something – which made you homeless. Please note that being kicked out by parents or fleeing abuse is not intentionally homeless.
  • If you’re in priority need: this includes pregnant women, people with quite serious mental or physical health needs, some people who have been in care, and people who may be vulnerable for some other reason. It can be hard to talk about your personal situation and history, but it’s really important that you give the council a full picture of your situation and why you need support.
  • If you have a local connection to the area: this means having lived there for six of the past 12 months, three of the past five years, and have a permanent job or immediate family in the area.
  • If the council decides you’re eligible, homeless and in priority need, then it must offer you temporary accommodation immediately. If it needs more time to assess your situation but it thinks you may be in priority need, it must still offer you emergency accommodation.
  • The council may say that it does not have a duty to offer you accommodation because it has decided you are not in ‘priority need’. If this happens you can ask for the decision in writing. Having a copy of this letter is important if you believe that you should be in priority need and want to challenge the council’s decision.
  • Even if you are not in priority need, the council still has a duty to help relieve your homelessness – under the Homelessness Reduction Act. The council should work with you to complete a personalised housing plan.

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for pembrokeshire.online, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says "Pembrokeshire.online has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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