Please seek help as soon as you think you may be at risk of losing your home. This will give us more time to help prevent you becoming homeless or to help you to find somewhere else to live.

There is also advice for people who are sleeping rough.

Getting help from the council

The Housing Needs Advice and Support team offer advice and support if you are homeless or worried about becoming homeless:

  • Open Monday to Thursday, 9am - 5pm and Friday 9am - 4pm (no appointment needed for initial advice)
  • Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AX
  • 023 9283 4989 - housing.options@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

A very limited service is available outside of these hours for crisis situations only on 023 9282 2444.

How can we help?

If you are homeless or are at risk of homelessness, we can arrange for you to see a member of our team. We would then:

  • If you are worried about becoming homeless, give you advice about the next steps
  • Assess your current housing situation and what your housing needs are
  • Look to agree a housing plan with you, which would outline how we can work together to help you find a permanent home
  • Assess whether you might be in 'priority need' - this depends on how vulnerable you would be when homeless, and would affect whether you are entitled to temporary accommodation while your application is assessed.

The steps we take to help you will depend on your situation. Some examples of the help we can offer:

  • Support to negotiate with family members or your landlord to help you stay in your home
  • Financial assistance to help you keep your current home or to secure other accommodation
  • Assess whether you could join the housing waiting list

We aren't always able to help you stay in your home or get into other accommodation within the time we aim to. In these situations, we need to make a decision as to whether we have a duty to ensure you have accommodation - this will depend on your level of vulnerability and the cause of your homelessness.

You may disagree with a decision we make, in which case you can request a review.

Independent, free advice is available from Advice Portsmouth.

The Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) came into effect on 3 April 2018 and changed the way that we deal with any eligible person who is homeless or at risk of homelessness. Helpful guidance explaining these changes can be found in fact sheets produced by the Government and in further detail in the code of guidance which sets out what councils must follow to deliver the required homelessness services.

Advice for specific situations

We are able to give you advice for your specific situation if you get in touch. We will also be able to give you specific, face-to-face advice if you find yourself in one of the situations listed on this page. This does not cover all the advice we can offer.

If you have recently left prison

  • The code of guidance has a specific chapter which advises councils how to deal with homeless applications from people with an offending history.
  • We will consider the views of probation services, youth offending teams or the like when assessing what housing you need and what support you might need to find and keep somewhere to live
    • You can apply to any council for help but it’s usually best to apply to an area where you have a local connection, otherwise you will likely be referred to a safe area where you do have a local connection. Being in prison in an area doesn't count as a local connection.
    • As well as the usual factors we must consider when deciding whether you are entitled to temporary accommodation whilst your application is being assessed, we must also consider whether you are vulnerable as a result of your time spent in prison

If you are a care leaver

  • The code of guidance has a specific chapter which advises councils how to deal with applications from care leavers
  • Being a care leaver could mean you are entitled to accommodation from the Council. For example, if you were looked after when you were 16 or 17 and you are now between 18 and 20 and homeless, you will automatically be in priority need. This would usually mean you are entitled to temporary accommodation whilst we deal with your application, but other factors would have to be considered to decide whether you were owed an accommodation duty on an ongoing basis
  • People aged under 35 who rent from a private landlord can only usually receive Universal Credit or Housing Benefit up to the maximum shared room rate, rather than the 1 bedroom rate. If you have been in care, this restriction doesn’t apply until you turn 22
  • As a care leaver, you should continue to receive help and advice from your personal adviser until you are 21, or 25 if you are still in education or training

If you are a former member of the armed forces

  • The code of guidance has a specific chapter which advises councils how to deal with applications from former services personnel
  • As well as the usual factors we must consider when deciding whether you are entitled to temporary accommodation whilst your application is being assessed, we must also consider whether you are vulnerable as a result of your time spent serving in the forces
    • You may be entitled to further advice or financial support from charities such as the Royal British Legion or SSAFA to help you keep your home or find other accommodation
    • Our allocation policy (which sets the rules for the housing waiting list) puts former members of the armed forces in a better position than others. For example, you might be considered to have a local connection when you ordinarily wouldn't, or you may receive additional priority.

If you have experienced domestic abuse

  • If you are worried about your own or someone else's safety you should call 999
  • Further information about the support available can be found on our domestic abuse page
  • When considering whether someone is homeless, the Council must decide whether it is reasonable for them to stay in their home. It is not reasonable for you to stay in a property where you will experience domestic abuse
  • People often stay with friends or relatives while deciding what to do next
  • If you plan on leaving your home, try to safely take some essentials with you such as a change of clothes, toiletries, medication, your passport and ID documents, bank cards, and mobile phone

If you have recently left or are about to leave hospital

  • You should tell the hospital nursing staff as soon as possible that you think you will be homeless when discharged. The hospital discharge team may contact the Housing needs Advice team at the Council on your behalf. We would then begin our assessment of whether you would be entitled to temporary accommodation whilst your application is assessed

If you have a mental illness or impairment

  • We can work with you early to try to help prevent you from becoming homeless
  • We will consider the views of any anyone you have supporting you when assessing what housing you need and what support you might need to find and keep somewhere to live. This might include a support worker or a health professional

The duty to refer for public authorities

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 introduced a duty on public authorities to refer service users who may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to housing authorities. Portsmouth City Council is part of the Hampshire Homelessness Referral protocol. If you are a public body wishing to make a referral, you can email this referral form to dutytorefer@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or dutytorefer@secure.portsmouthcc.gov.uk

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