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What happens when you tell us you’re homeless or worried about becoming homeless


How we’ll help


When you tell us you’re homeless or worried about becoming homeless within the next 8 weeks (56 days) we’ll discuss your situation and needs with you.

As part of our assessment we'll make enquiries to determine if there's a risk that you'll become homeless. If we assess that there is a risk we’ll draw up a Personalised Housing Plan with you.

Your Personalised Housing Plan will list actions for both you and your Caseworker to take to either:

  • stop you becoming homeless
  • help you find new accommodation if you’re already homeless 


Getting a council property


You probably won’t be offered a council property, even if you’re homeless.

There are approximately 1600 households in Sutton who are currently on the waiting list for council or housing association housing, and there are very few available properties. 


Your homelessness assessment


Before you contact us you should complete the online Housing Options Assessment.  This will ask you some questions about your situation and generate tailored advice on the potential housing options available to you. To access the Housing Options Assessment click here. If you still need our help, make a note of your reference number and call us on 0208 770 5000.  The contact centre will pass your message to the Gateway and Initial Assessment Team, who will call you back within 4 hours. 

When we speak to you, we will need to ask you a lot of questions in order to fully assess your circumstances. It would help if you have the following information to hand for everyone in your household:

  • Names and dates of birth
  • 5 year address history 
  • Information on any medical conditions or other support needs 
  • Details of your income and any benefits you receive 

We may also ask you to provide some or all of the following documents:

  • Proof of ID such as passport or birth certificate
  • Birth certificates for any children
  • Tenancy agreement
  • Any notice served by your landlord
  • Proof of pregnancy or any medical conditions
  • Bank statements, wage slips and benefit letters


If we determine that you are homeless, or threatened with homelessness, we will work with you to agree the actions that should go in your Personalised Housing Plan. 

It’s important for you to be open and honest at your assessment so your Caseworker can give you the correct advice and support.

If you don't have a local connection to Sutton and are already homeless, you may be referred to a local authority where you do have a connection. This doesn't apply if there is a risk of violence or domestic abuse to you in your local connection borough.


Your Personalised Housing Plan


Your Personalised Housing Plan will include actions that you and your Housing Advisor will agree to take.

You may agree to:

  • contact your landlord to try to resolve particular issues
  • fill in forms, such as an income and expenditure form, which will show us how much money you spend or have coming  in
  • keep a record of any actions you’ve taken
  • be referred to other organisations for advice and support
  • contact any family or friends to ask them to let you stay temporarily
  • look for work or privately rented accommodation

Your Caseworker may agree to:

  • give you advice about your rights as a tenant
  • talk to your family or friends if they’ve told you to leave
  • help you make a claim for benefits or discretionary housing payments
  • help you find private rented accommodation
  • refer you to other organisations for specialist advice and support, such as the NHS, welfare benefits or debt advice


You must cooperate with us

It's your responsibility to cooperate with us and do things to help yourself while we're trying to sort out your housing problem.

You must tell us if any of your circumstances change.

We may decide that we have no duty to help you if we believe that you're:

  • refusing to work with us
  • not carrying out the tasks in your Personalised Housing Plan


After your assessment


After your assessment, we’ll expect you to take the actions in your Personalised Housing Plan. Your Caseworker will also take the actions they’ve agreed to. You can contact your Caseworker if you have any questions.

We hope that by taking the actions in your Personalised Housing Plan and with our support, you won’t become homeless, or if you’re already homeless, you’ll find a place to live.


Temporary accommodation


We might provide you with temporary accommodation while we look at your homeless application. This will depend on your personal circumstances. Most people won't be offered temporary accommodation but we can provide you with information on hostels and other short term, emergency accommodation options.


Further help


If the actions in your Personalised Housing Plan haven’t been successful after we have been working with you for at least 56 days, we may be able to help you further. We call this further help qualifying for the ‘main housing duty’.

The main housing duty is:

  • only owed to people in certain situations
  • only considered if you’re still homeless after you and your Caseworker have completed  the actions in your Personalised Housing Plan


How you qualify for the main housing duty

To qualify for the main housing duty, all the following five conditions must apply to you.

  • You need to be eligible for help
  • You need to be legally homeless
  • You need to be in priority need
  • You need to have become homeless through no fault of your own
  • You need to have a local connection to Sutton

The Shelter website explains these conditions in more detail


If you qualify for the main housing duty

If all of the above applies to you then we will have a duty to provide you with temporary accommodation until you are either offered a council or housing association property or a privately rented property. The waiting time for council or housing association accommodation could be up to 5 years plus. 


For more information about finding accommodation please see the following pages:

Privately Rented Accommodation

Housing register

Mutual exchange

Housing Moves

Older People's Accommodation

Seaside and Country Homes

Under Occupation Scheme

Supported Housing​​eedback

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