Preventing and relieving homelessness
Our primary aim is to prevent homelessness where possible. There are multiple tools the Housing Options Team may use to resolve your housing situation. Any options applicable to you will be included within your Personalised Housing Plan and agreed between you and your Homelessness and Prevention Officer whilst you’re under the Prevention Duty.
Types of assistance to help you remain in your current home
Mediation and negotiation
This might apply if you’re living with family and have been asked to leave or in a private rented property and your landlord has issued you with a notice.
We may ask to meet or speak to your relatives or contact your landlord directly to determine exactly why you’re being asked to leave and see if we can mediate between you and them and ultimately reach an agreement which will enable you to remain where you are for the foreseeable future, this could include introducing a contract of expectations between you and the landlord or relative as applicable.
All Officers have experience in mediation and negotiation but we have two officers who have received additional training to perform this kind of prevention action.
This might apply if you’re living in a mortgaged, private or socially rented property and are being repossessed and evicted.
If it’s identified that you have been experiencing difficulties with debts we would seek to get a full picture of your situation and the level of debt involved.
Once we have a detailed picture of your debts we would then seek to put you in touch with local organisations which specialise in debt advice casework and management with the ultimate aim that such intervention would enable you to remain in your accommodation.
This could apply to you if you’re currently living with family or friends, or in a mortgaged, private or socially rented home.
As we’re assessing your situation we might identify that you are not claiming all of the benefits you’re entitled to or there may be a problem with your income such as your benefits may have stopped and you don’t know why.
If we identify you’re not claiming the correct benefits we would provide the necessary advice and assistance to maximise your income as soon as possible which would then enable you to afford where you’re currently staying.
If your benefits have been stopped we may be able to find out why they’ve been stopped and put actions into your Personalised Housing Plan which can get any issues resolved as soon as possible.
Resolving Rent or Mortgage Arrears
This could apply if you’re currently living in a mortgaged, private or socially rented home.
If rent or mortgage arrears are identified to be a problem we have dedicated Money Advice and Welfare Officers who would be able to provide you with the necessary advice and assistance to resolve the issues. The Money Advice Officer would also be able to attend court with you and negotiate with your landlord or lender during the hearing to either prevent the eviction or to acquire more time in the property.
Experiencing Domestic Abuse
For those individuals or households who are currently experiencing domestic abuse we would be able to put you in touch with organisations such as the Cheshire East Domestic Abuse Hub who would be able to allocate a dedicated domestic abuse worker and can assist with options to keep you safe and secure in your current property such as implementing target hardening measures or injunctions.
Direct financial assistance
If it’s identified that you may be able to remain in your current accommodation with a one off payment your housing officer may be able to make an application to Cheshire East Emergency Assistance or our Homelessness Prevention Fund, which can be discussed with your Homechoice and Prevention Officer. This payment must be in combination with other prevention options such as negotiating with your landlord or resolving rent arrears.
Types of assistance to help you find alternative accommodation
Private Rented Accommodation
Private Rented accommodation is one of the main options available to both prevent and relieve homelessness as it can provide more choice for individuals and households to stay in certain locations and it can usually be quicker to secure than other forms of accommodation.
The Housing Options Team has a dedicated Private Sector Liaison Officer who’s tasked with working with individual landlords and letting agencies operating in the borough and to provide suitable alternative accommodation options. We also have an established landlord offer and landlord accreditation scheme which rewards landlords who maintain their accommodation to a higher standard.
If a suitable property is found either by you or your housing officer but help is needed to secure it we can potentially assist you to make an application to Cheshire East Emergency Assistance which can be used to pay for the deposit on a property and furniture or our Homelessness Prevention Fund.
Social Rented Accommodation
Although Cheshire East Council doesn’t own any accommodation we do maintain the Housing Register for the borough which is called Cheshire Homechoice. Cheshire Homechoice operates as partnership between all the main registered housing providers operating in the borough and allocates everyone who applies a banding between A and E based on their housing need. Bandings are allocated based under a common allocations policy.
Once registered individuals wishing to be rehoused are required to logon to the Homechoice website and express an interest or bid on suitable accommodation in the areas of their choice. See the Cheshire Homechoice website for more information.
The Housing Options Team commissions various lower level supported accommodation projects across the borough. This type of accommodation is ideal to provide short or medium term support for individuals and households who may have experienced difficulties maintaining their previous accommodation. The accommodation can last for up to six months at a time but the projects main aims are to provide support to move people on into their own suitable accommodation when the support workers feel they are ready for move on.