We offer support whether you’re homeless or worried about becoming homeless. Homelessness takes many forms:
‘Sofa surfing’ from friend to friend
Staying with family or friends temporarily
Not having a home that you can legally occupy
You have a home but can’t secure entry to it or it is not reasonable for you to remain there
Register for Housing Assistance
If you are threatened with homelessness within 56 days or are homeless now, please follow the link to the Housing Assistance Referral Portal and register.
Once we have your details, our Housing Options Team will be in touch to offer you advice over the phone.
Homelessness Support & Advice
If you have nowhere to go we may be able to house you temporarily. Even if we cannot accommodate you temporarily, we will do everything we can to help you resolve your housing problems.
For more information on about your legal rights and homelessness applications you may wish to visit the Shelter website.
If you have nowhere to stay during the evening, weekend or on a public holiday please contact the Gloucestershire Social Services Emergency Team on 01452 614194.
If you are in priority need, temporary accommodation will be arranged for you. The duty worker will tell you to contact the Housing Options Team on the morning of the next working day. This is essential as the temporary accommodation will only be available until then.
Gloucestershire’s local authorities have developed a county wide severe weather protocol (SWEP) in a humanitarian response to prevent deaths on the county’s streets due to extreme cold weather.
This is implemented when there is a temperature forecast of 0 degrees or lower for three or more consecutive dates or a temperature of minus 3 degrees or lower for one night only and applies to everyone who is rough sleeping without the financial means or capacity to secure accommodation during the period of extreme weather.
You can contact StreetLink on 0300 5000194. This is a national service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. StreetLink will help put you in touch with local services.
You can also use this number if you have seen a rough sleeper and they will pass this information to the Outreach Team. Visit www.streetlink.org.uk
We work within the Homeless Reduction Act brought in by the Government from 3rd April 2018. The new Homelessness Reduction Act increases the requirements for CBH (on behalf of Cheltenham Borough Council) to help all eligible applicants – rather than just those with a ‘priority need’. It adds two new duties:
- Duty to take steps to prevent homelessness: CBH will have to help people at risk of losing suitable accommodation as soon as they are threatened with homelessness within 56 days. This means people should get help on receiving a valid notice from their landlord if they are struggling to find a letting, rather than being told to come back when they have a bailiff’s date.
- Duty to take steps to relieve homelessness: CBH will have to help all those who are homeless to secure suitable accommodation, regardless of whether they are ‘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 ensure that the true scale of homelessness is recorded.
We can work with you from 56 days of you being threatened with homelessness. We will always notify you of our decision in writing at the prevention, relief and main housing duty stage and advise you of your right to request a review of that decision if you do not agree with it.
From 1 October 2018, certain organisations have a duty to refer anybody who they believe might be homeless to a local housing authority.
Your client must give their permission to be referred, and it’s their choice which local authority they are referred to.
This duty also applies to anybody suspected of being threatened with homelessness.
The law that created this duty is the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, Section 10.
The organisations responsible for making these referrals are:
- Prisons and youth offender institutions
- Secure training centres and colleges
- Youth offending teams and probation services
- Jobcentre Plus
- Accident and emergency services provided in a hospital
- Urgent treatment centres (such as walk-in centres)
- In-patient hospitals
- Social service authorities
- Ministry of Defence (for members of the regular armed forces)
What to ask
If you are part of an organisation, whether it is specified or not and believe a client could lose their home (or has already done so), you should ask:
- Have you already been referred to a local housing authority for assistance? There is no need to refer someone who has already been referred by another agency.
- Do you give consent for me to refer you to a local housing authority for help with resolving your housing situation? You’ll need to share basic information about the applicant with the housing authority.
- Which local housing authority would you like me to refer you to?
Choose an appropriate local housing authority:
The client can choose which local housing authority they wish to be referred to. However, it’s sensible to guide them towards the local council that is best equipped to resolve the situation. This will usually be in the area they live in or last had a settled home – unless there’s a threat of violence in that district.
If the client is threatened with being made homeless within the next 56 days, we’ll try to help. If the client needs to find somewhere different to live, we’ll explore their options with them.
If the client is already homeless, we’ll investigate whether they have a local connection with Cheltenham. If they do not, we’ll refer them to the council area where they do have one, unless they don’t have one, or it would be unsafe.
Refer a client to Housing Options:
If you have consent to refer a client to us, and think it is appropriate to do so, please click here!
What will happen next?
We’ll review all referrals and contact the client.
If we are satisfied that they are eligible for help, and either homeless or threatened with it within 56 days, we’ll create a homeless application for them. Otherwise, we’ll provide as much advice and assistance as we can.
Additional Advice & Assistance
Domestic abuse can include:
- Violence or threats towards you or your children
- Calling you names or making you feel bad about yourself
- Stopping you seeing friends or family
- Not letting you have any money
This can be from someone, aged 16 or over, who has been an intimate partner or a family member, regardless of their gender or sexuality.
If you need to leave home now
If you need to leave home immediately try to spend a few days with friends or relatives while you think about what to do next.
You won’t always be able to get emergency accommodation if you leave your home because of violence or abuse.
Don’t give up your home until you’ve spoken to one of our housing advisers or an adviser from the domestic abuse services. Try and have a plan of where you’re going to go before you leave your home.
There are organisations who can help you stay safe in your home or find you somewhere else to live.
Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service (GDASS) is a county-wide service designed to reduce the level of domestic abuse and improve the safety of victims and their families. GDASS operates in all districts offering a variety of support programmes for women and men over 16 years old experiencing domestic abuse.
Their services include:
- Help for victims to access services such as housing or mental health support
- Help and advice on how to stay safe in your own home
- Finding places in one of Gloucestershire’s safe houses
Call: 01452 726570 Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm or Email: email@example.com
National Domestic Violence Helpline helps women experiencing domestic abuse.
You’ll be able to talk confidentially to someone about your situation and find out what your options are.
Call: 0808 2000 247. The phone line is open 24 hours day.
Women’s Aid has published the Survivor’s Handbook which has practical support and information for women experiencing domestic abuse.
Make your home safer
If you want to stay in your home, you can apply for a ‘target hardening’ service. This is when the police come to your home and make adjustments to try to make it safer
You can apply for target hardening if the person abusing you:
- Isn’t living with you
- Has been living with you but has been told by the court to stay away
Target hardening can include:
- Window and door locks
- Door chains
- Spy holes
- Fire proof letter boxes
If you’re renting, your landlord will need to agree to any work being done.
If you’re interested in making your home safer, contact GDASS. They’ll give you advice about whether it’s right for you.
Before you leave prison
If you’re not going to have anywhere to live when you’re released from prison you must speak to your prison’s housing officer as soon as possible.
If your sentence is for 12 or more months you’ll probably be released on licence. This means you’ll live in the community but you’ll be supervised by the probation service until the end of your sentence.
If you’re going to be released on licence, your resettlement or probation officer may help you find a place to stay, or they’ll make a referral to us on your behalf. In some situations, we may have a duty to provide you with accommodation when you’re released.
We will look at your local connection to Cheltenham
To qualify for help from us you must have a local connection to the area. If you apply to us and do not have a local connection we may refer you to an area where you do have a connection.
You have a local connection with Cheltenham if you live, work, or have immediate family living here for 5 years.
If you have no local connection with any area, you can apply to any council in any area.
Help with money
The prison service will give you a discharge grant when you leave prison. This is money to help with your costs until your benefits are sorted out.
You may be able to prepare for your release when you’re in prison by:
- Saving some of your prison wages
- Opening a credit union account
Ask your prison for details.
Other services who can help you:
Clinks website: directory of voluntary agencies that work with offenders and their families
Shelter: help if you’re an ex-prisoner and homeless
Who you can contact
If you’ve left or are leaving the armed forces and you’re homeless there are a number of agencies who can help you.
Ministry of Defence
If you think you may be homeless after you leave the armed forces, you should contact the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) housing advice service, the Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO)
They run a referral scheme which may help you to find a housing association home.
You can apply if you’re:
- Married or a separated spouse still living in services family accommodation (SFO)
- Single and living in a hostel within six months of leaving the forces
The MOD runs the Veterans UK helpline which gives advice to veterans in a crisis.
Veterans’ Gateway is a group of military charities. They can give you advice about organisations that can help you.
You can get help finding accommodation from:
You can also approach your local Housing Options service, for Cheltenham you will need to contact:
Cheltenham Borough Homes (CBH) Housing Options service:
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (10am on Wednesday) on 01242 387615
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We will assist you through the Homeless Reduction Act to look for accommodation.
You can apply for a council or housing association home on www.Homeseekerplus.co.uk
We can also help you find a home with a private landlord.
Before you leave hospital
You should tell the hospital nursing staff as soon as possible, so that they know that you will be homeless when you are discharged. They will ask the hospital discharge team to help if they can.
The discharge team may refer you to the Housing Options Team. We will assess your situation and you may be offered temporary accommodation while your application is being assessed.
If you have a home already but it needs to be adapted, the hospital will refer you to Cheltenham Borough Council’s team who are responsible for adaptations or Disabled Facilities Grant.
If you are a care leaver
You may be able to get housing and other help from Gloucestershire County Council and your local district council. The help you get will depend on your age and circumstances.
Housing help for children in care
If you are in care, Gloucestershire County Council is responsible for finding you somewhere to live until you are 18. This would usually be foster care but other options are available according to your needs.
Housing help for 18-21 care leavers
It is important to plan for the changes that happen at age 18 and the transition to care leaver, so please discuss your options with your social worker and housing worker before your 18th birthday.
- “Staying Put” with your foster family beyond the age of 18
- Supported Housing in your local area
- Independent living – only when you can show your independent living skills, and it is agreed jointly between social worker and housing options team. This could be private rent (eg house share) or social housing.
If you are 21-25 and still want support from Gloucestershire County Council’s 11-25 Service, please contact your social worker or leaving care worker to find out what is available.
Help and Advice for homeless care leavers
If you are at risk of becoming homeless contact your leaving care worker or local housing options team who will work together to support you to access accommodation. Support will be tailored to your needs and could include
- Telling you what sort of emergency accommodation is available – this will give you an idea of what you can expect
- Checking you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to
- Telling you about the longer term housing options that are available in your area and give you an idea of how much this will cost
- Putting you in contact with specialist support organisations or local schemes that can help
If you are a care leaver aged 18, 19 or 20 years old, your local authority may help. Contact both your leaving care worker and us as we will work together to help you. You are automatically classed as being in “priority need”, which means that the Housing Options Team may help you find a place to live in an emergency.
Temporary placements could include:
- Crash pad
- Temporary accommodation provided by the local council
The 11-25 Service will also provide other support such as help with health issues, budgeting, training and education. At 18 you can claim Universal Credit if you need to.
If you are no longer classed as a ‘care leaver’ and are homeless, you still may be able to get help from us if we consider you are in priority need.
For example if you:
- Are vulnerable as a result of having been in care
- Haven’t had a stable home since you left care
Temporary placements may be available as above.
What is local connection?
If you were in care in Gloucestershire, then you have a local connection to Gloucestershire for housing options. There are six local authorities that offer housing advice and you should approach the area where you want to live and have an established support network. If you have moved to a different area in the country or you live in Gloucestershire but were in care in a different authority, contact your local housing options team to see what help is available. This will depend on your situation.
Agencies in Gloucestershire that might also help
11-25 Service – email@example.com
Gloucestershire Nightstop – www.gloucestershirenightstop.org.uk
Youth Support Team – www.youthsupportteam.co.uk
Young Gloucestershire – www.youngglos.org.uk
P3 – www.p3charity.org
Greensquare – www.greensquaregroup.com