What to do if you become homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless

If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, you should contact the Housing Options Team as soon as possible.

We will be able to provide advice, help and assistance if you are homeless or going to be homeless. We may be able to prevent your homelessness by talking to your landlord if you are in rent arrears or your mortgage lender if you cannot afford to keep up with your monthly payments.

If you are not able to stay in your home we may be able to help you find alternative housing either in private rented housing or social housing. If you have been served notice to leave your property by your landlord please contact us as soon as possible. You mustn't give up your accommodation if you have nowhere else to go.

Help for Rough Sleepers

What to do if you are concerned about someone you think may be sleeping rough:

If you are worried or concerned about a person you think may be sleeping rough or is rough sleeping during the cold weather, please call Melton Borough Council on 01664 502502 and ask to speak to the Housing Options team or you can visit the Streetlink website.

You can also e-mail: housingoptions@melton.gov.uk

The council work as part of a county partnership offering street outreach and targeted support to people who are rough sleeping.  Street Outreach will visit a rough sleeper if it is reported and the location known.

Your rights if homeless

You don't have to be sleeping on the streets or not have a roof over your head to be considered homeless. Most people who are legally homeless are not on the streets.

There are many situations where the council must accept you are homeless, and may have a legal duty to help you with housing. 

For example: 

  • You don't have 'a roof over your head', meaning you are street homeless.
  • You're at risk of violence or abuse where you are living. This can be from a partner, ex-partner or family member, or someone in your area.
  • You're at risk of losing your home, for example being evicted, or asked to leave.
  • You can't afford to stay where you are.
  • Your accommodation is very temporary.
  • You are staying with friends or 'sofa surfing'.
  • You've been locked out or illegally evicted.
  • Your accommodation is in very poor condition and is dangerous.
  • You have nowhere to put your houseboat or caravan. 

If one or more of these apply, you may be eligible for help from us (Melton Borough Council). The main thing we can do to help is create a personal housing plan so that you can work together with us to solve the problem.

Who we can help 

  1. There must be a reason to believe that you might be homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days. At this point you can make a homeless application. This means that you are telling the council you are homeless or at risk of homelessness and need our help. 
  1. You must be eligible - normally live in the UK long-term and not be subject to immigration control. 
  1. You must be recognised as homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days.

At this point your homeless application moves to the next stage, and we will carry out an assessment of your situation, housing needs, and support needs.  The caseworker will then work with you to create a personal housing plan.

If you are homeless and have nowhere to stay, we will assess your needs and decide if temporary accommodation can be provided whilst we work together.

If homelessness has not been solved at the end of a certain period of time (on average, around 120 days), the plan will be closed and the council will make the final decision on the application based on: 

  1. If you have a priority need - this means either you have children, are pregnant, you have a physical or mental health disability, or if you are more vulnerable for other reasons such as fleeing domestic violence.
  1. If you have made yourself intentionally homeless – this means made yourself homeless on purpose, or done something on purpose that started a series of events that eventually led to homelessness.
  1. You must have a local connection with the borough. However, this is not always necessary if you are fleeing domestic violence.

If you meet these criteria, we have a duty to offer you a suitable home in the private rented sector (for example, with a private landlord or estate agency).

How do I start? 

Our Housing Options service can help you with either finding or keeping a safe and suitable home for you and your family. We have a team of housing advisors who will work with you to explore all of your options. 

We have a drop-in service available Monday- Friday or you can call us on the phone. You can bring a support worker or friend if you wish. 

You can choose whether the interview is face-to-face, or over the phone.

To get in contact, call on 01664 502 502

At the interview 

At the interview we will discuss the options available to you.  The housing advisor will, if possible, ask you to make certain enquiries.  The housing advisor will also do this.  This interview will be to tell you what is and isn't possible and how we can resolve your housing situation as quickly as possible.  

We will ask you the reasons for your housing situation and if necessary, we may need to see things such as ID, bank statements and proof of benefits.  If we can see these as soon as possible, that will help. 

For more information on the homelessness interview, you can look at the Shelter website in the ‘How to make a homeless application’ section

Other support if you are not eligible 

If you are not eligible for housing provided by us, you may still be able to access: 

  • Help from social services when homeless: if you have children or additional needs you may be able to get support from Children’s or Adult Social Care.

If this is the case, the officer will tell you about your options at the time, and help you to get in touch with the people you need to talk to. 

Homeless Reduction Act - What it means for you

The Homelessness Reduction Act became law on 3 April 2018. It puts more duties on councils to help all eligible people who are homeless, or threatened with homelessness within 56 days.

It improves the existing homelessness legislation, and adds two new duties: 

  1. Duty to take steps to prevent homelessness:

    Leicester City Council must help people who are at risk of losing their home within the next 56 days. This means people can get help earlier.  We must help by working with the person to create a personal housing plan, and then trying, together, to either keep the current home or find a suitable new home. 
  2. Duty to take steps to relieve homelessness: 

    Leicester City Council must help all people who are already homeless. We must help by working with the person to create a personal housing plan, and then trying, together, to find a suitable new home. 

Both duties are regardless of whether the applicant is ‘intentionally homeless’ or ‘priority need’.  This should mean that all eligible households are offered help to find a home, rather than some people being turned away.  It should also make sure that the true scale of homelessness is recorded. 

If neither of the above steps work, those who are in ‘priority need’ and ‘unintentionally homeless’ keep their right to be rehoused, but non-priority households and intentionally homeless households will not be entitled to further help. 

Glossary of terms

‘Priority need’ - The legal meaning of priority need is limited to certain categories of people, but generally it means that someone in the household is more vulnerable than an ordinary person.

‘Intentionally homeless’ – The legal meaning of Intentionally homeless is complex, but generally it means the situation that caused homelessness is the applicant(s)’s fault, and it was within their control to stop it from happening.

Housing help for Care Leavers

If you are aged 18 to 21, you can get help from both Leicestershire County Council’s Children’s Services and Melton Borough Council's Housing Options Service.

If you are aged 18 to 21 and spent at least one night in care when you were 16 or 17, you are automatically classed as being in priority need until your 21st birthday, which means that our Housing Options service can help you find a place to live. 

Children’s Services can also help you by providing personal advisor support and help with training and education. You can find out more by visiting Leicestershire care leavers | Leicestershire County Council.

Benefits for care leavers over 18 

When you turn 18 you are entitled to claim benefits.  Usually if you are aged under 35 and you rent from a private landlord, the maximum housing benefit you can get is the same rate you would get for renting a single room in a shared house. 

However, if you've been in care, this doesn't apply until you turn 22. Until then you should be able to get the full one-bedroom rate. 

Housing help for care leavers aged 21 years and above 

Some older care leavers can get accommodation from the Housing Options Service if they are in priority need.  You might be in priority need if you: 

  • are vulnerable as a result of having been in care,
  • haven't had a stable home since you left care, for example university,
  • have slept on the streets since leaving care. 
  • have no support networks, particularly family, friends or a mentor.

We can look carefully at your situation and see if you are vulnerable for housing purposes, which means you are more vulnerable than an average person. 

Other support for care leavers aged 18 to 24 

As a care leaver you should continue to receive help and advice from the Care Leaving service until your 25th birthday. You can find out more by visiting Leicestershire care leavers | Leicestershire County Council.

Your personal adviser should keep in touch with you to see how you are getting on.  Before you leave care you're given a pathway plan setting out what support you might need to live independently. 

Help finding housing in the private rented sector 

Melton Borough Council can help with paying money for deposits and rent in advance for private rented properties.  We will work with you and you and your personal advisor to look at what is affordable and suitable for you.  This means the rent must be the same or less than the amount of Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance you can get.  

Once you have found a place you can contact the Housing Options Service. We will talk to the landlord on your behalf and try to convince them to accept you as their tenant.  

Apply for a council or housing association home 

As a longer-term alternative option, you could also think about applying for a council home or a housing association home. Please go to Apply for a council house – Melton Borough Council.  Speak to your personal advisor about this.  If you are just about to leave care, and they think you have the skills to live on your own they can recommend that your application is placed in High Band.  If after 8 weeks a property has not been secured, the band will be increased to Priority band.

Extra help for moving into a new place 

If you are a care leaver moving to a new place, you may be entitled to a help with moving expenses or household items.  You can talk to your personal advisor about this

Housing and homelessness support for domestic abuse

f you live in the Melton borough and you don’t feel safe at home due to domestic violence, you can contact our housing options team for help and advice.

All our housing officers are trained to help people affected by domestic abuse. You are normally considered to be legally homeless if it is not reasonable for you to occupy your home because of the risk or fear of domestic violence.

The officer you speak to will ask you some questions about your situation. You may be asked for supporting evidence, which could include details and dates of incidents, but you will not be turned away if you do not have this information. We look at each case carefully. If you need this, we will try to help you find somewhere safer to live in the short term.

If we can’t help you, we can put you in touch with others who may be able to help, for example. social services or the local support service for people affected by domestic abuse.

Help for council tenants

If you are a Melton Borough Council tenant and you don’t feel safe at home due to domestic violence, contact your tenancy management officer who can arrange to see you at your home or at a place which is safe for you. 

We can:

  • Give safety advice and can install additional security measures if the person using abusive behaviour does not live at your home
  • Help you to complete applications to move within the area, where this is safe and possible
  • Liaise with colleagues in the housing options team to reduce your risk of homelessness
  • Consider action against the person being abusive, including removing them from a joint tenancy, if this will help you.

Can I get help if I am not a council tenant?

If you live in the borough of Melton our housing options team may be able to help you get safer accommodation


Emergency out-of-hours help

If you are homeless in an emergency after 5pm, please contact us on 01664 502502 for assistance.

If you think you are in immediate danger, ALWAYS dial 999 and ask for the police.

Making home safer

There might be more options than you think. Local support services can:

  • Help secure your home
  • Help you make a safety plan, understand your needs and think through what might help
  • Help you find somewhere safer to live temporarily
  • For women: Accommodate you in a shared, safe, women only refuge where specialist staff are on site
  • For men: Help you find safe accommodation, and support you while you do so
  • Help you find safe accommodation elsewhere if you are not safe in Leicester
  • Help the person who is abusing you find somewhere else to stay, if that helps you, and they are committed to change.

Local support service helpline: 0808 80 200 28 Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, weekends and bank holidays 10am to 4pm. Calls are free and will not show up on your bill.

Homeless advice for veterans

If you're leaving the armed services, or you are a former member, you may be entitled to extra help if you become homeless.

You may be able to get help from Melton Borough Council if you are a former member of the armed forces and are homeless or threatened with homelessness. We must consider whether we can help you using both general rules that apply to everyone and special rules that apply to people who were in the forces.

The armed forces covenant

The armed forces covenant was published in May 2011 by central government. The covenant is about removing disadvantages so armed service personnel, past and present, get the same treatment and access to services as the civilian community. It is based on four themes:

  • encouraging local communities to support their local armed forces community and vice versa
  • promoting public understanding and awareness of issues that affect the armed forces community
  • recognising the sacrifices made by the armed forces community
  • encouraging activities which help integrate the armed forces community into local life.

You can find out more about the covenant by visiting Armed Forces Covenant – Melton Borough Council

General rules for people in priority need

It can be easier to get help if you qualify under the general rules for people in priority need, for example if you have dependent children or are pregnant.

We will also look to see if you are vulnerable in some way.  This may involve showing how a disability, mental health problem, addiction or other issue effects your ability to secure housing for yourself compared with other people who are rendered homeless.

Extra homelessness rules for the armed forces

You should also be treated as being vulnerable and therefore in priority need for accommodation if you can show that your vulnerability is as a result of being a former member of the armed forces.

When deciding this, we may consider:

  • how long you were in the forces and what role you had
  • if you spent any time in a military hospital
  • if you were released from service on medical grounds (and have a Medical History Release Form)
  • if you have had accommodation since leaving service and if you have been able to obtain or maintain accommodation since you left
  • how long it has been since you left service

To help support your case, you may need to provide medical evidence from the MOD, including a Medical History Release Form (if you were given one). It can be hard to establish that you are vulnerable

Get help early

Contact our Housing Options Service if you think you will be homeless after discharge from the services. Provide a letter of discharge or some other evidence that confirms the date of your discharge from the forces.  At that point, we should accept that from the date of discharge you will become homeless. If you have not asked for any housing help from us prior to your discharge from the forces, you may need to stay in your accommodation as long as possible and wait for Defence Estates to evict you.

Defence Estates have to give you a Notice to Vacate and if it is reasonable to do so, we may ask you to remain beyond the notice expiry date to wait for county court action, but this advice would only be given after careful consideration.

 You can use any Notice to Vacate and any possession order that is obtained against you as evidence in support of your homelessness application. 

Help finding housing in the private rented sector

Melton Borough Council can help anyone at risk of homelessness with a rent in advance payment and deposit towards a property in the private rented sector.   

As the customer, you would need find a suitable place that you can afford.  This means the rent must be the same or less than the amount of Housing Benefit / Local Housing Allowance you can get.  

Once you have found a place you can contact the Housing Options Service and we will talk to the landlord on your behalf and try to convince them to accept the scheme and rent the property to you.

Apply for a council or housing association home

As a longer-term alternative option, you could also think about applying for a council home or a housing association home.  People leaving the armed forces with no home to return to can be given priority status for accommodation on our housing register.

People that have already left can also get this priority status as long as they have left the Armed Forces within the last five years.

Apply for a council house – Melton Borough Council

Ex-forces, other help

Many single homeless people don't qualify for help from us or any other local authority. There is a range of services for people who find themselves homeless and on the streets, for example:

  • SSAFA provide housing advice to people currently serving in the forces and ex services personnel and their families.
  • Veterans Gateway can support ex-forces members with healthcare and housing issues, and also give advice about employability, finances, personal relationships and more. Veterans’ Gateway can also be contacted 24/7 on 0808 802 1212.
  • Veterans Housing Advice (VHA) is a new service which provides clear pathways for ex-service personnel in housing need throughout the UK to move into permanent homes. It can, for example, provide a housing intervention that negates the need to consider a rent bond or rent deposit.

It is provided in partnership with the Royal British Legion, Shelter and Connect Assist. Its main aim is to make accessing the services of charities easier through a telephone helpline open seven days a week from 8am-8pm. The direct number to an advisor is 0808 801 0880. Services provided include:

  • Supported Accommodation - providing temporary accommodation for veterans, with support.
  • Long Term Housing - providing settled accommodation for veterans, with or without support.
  • General Needs - Unsupported housing for members of the ex-Service community unable to buy or rent on the open market. Tenants will usually be self-sufficient, but may need to avail themselves of some of the floating support listed. Some adapted properties may be available or adaptations arranged as necessary.
  • Floating Support - Services delivered by visiting workers to people in their own homes to help people maintain their settled accommodation.
    • Outreach Services - Covering work with rough sleepers or people in temporary accommodation to help them access more settled accommodation and any support needs.
    • Day Centres - The provision of activities and support to homeless and vulnerably housed people. (Also called by some providers 'drop-in' facilities)
  • Amicus Trust is a Registered Charity that supports the single homeless community. They might be able to arrange supported accommodation.
Last updated 7 December 2022
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