Definition of homeless
You are homeless if:
- You have no accommodation in the UK or elsewhere which is available for your occupation and which you have the legal right to occupy.
- You have a home but cannot gain entry to it.
- Your home is a boat, mobile home or caravan and you have nowhere legally to moor it or park it.
- You have nowhere you can live together with your immediate family.
- You have somewhere to stay but it is unreasonable for you to continue to stay there, for example due to Domestic Violence.
Eligibility for assistance
You are not eligible for assistance under homeless legislation if:
- You are from abroad and are subject to immigration control.
Gateshead Council will have a legal duty to assist you with accommodation as a homeless person if you are in ‘priority need’. You would be classed as being in priority need if:
- You have a dependant child who resides with you on a full time basis.
- You or a member of your household are pregnant.
- Your household includes a person who may be vulnerable because of old age, mental illness, physical disability
- You are homeless as a result of an emergency such as flood, fire or other disaster.
- You are 16 or 17.
You would be intentionally homeless if you deliberately chose to leave a home you could have stayed in, or if it was your fault you lost your home for example, you have become homeless because you deliberately did not pay your rent or mortgage . If you are found to be intentionally homeless the council would not have a duty to find you a permanent home. They will give you advice and assistance on the housing options available to you.
If you do not have a local connection to Gateshead the Housing Options Team may refer you to another local authority to provide homeless assistance. You will have a local connection with Gateshead if:
- You have lived in Gateshead for 6 out of the last 12 months or 3 out of the last 5 years.
- You have a permanent job in the borough, or
- You have close relatives who have lived in the borough for 5 years, or
- You have a special reason why you must live in the area.
Contesting a homeless decision
If you think the decision the council has made about your homeless application is wrong, you have the right to request a review. This includes decisions about whether you;
- Are eligible for assistance
- Are homeless or threatened with homeless
- Have a priority need
- Are intentionally homeless
- Have a local connection with the area
If the Council has made you an offer of accommodation to alleviate your homelessness you can request a review of the suitability of accommodation, whether or not you accept the property. Please note that if you refuse an offer of accommodation and are residing in temporary accommodation you may be asked to leave.
Requesting a review
You have the right to request a review of any decision made regarding your homeless status or against the suitability of an offer of accommodation made to you as your final homeless offer.
Your request for a review must be submitted within 21 days of being notified of the Council’s decision. A review may be submitted on your behalf by any other person or agency who has your authority to do so.
Your review request must include:
- Your name,
- Contact address and
- Detailed reasons why you think the decision is wrong or the property offered is unsuitable.
Your review request can be submitted in writing or by email marked for the attention of:
Operational Housing Coordinator
Council Housing, Design and Technical Services
Communities and Environment
Gateshead Civic Centre
If a formal review request is received within 21 days of the date of the council’s homeless decision letter (Section 184 letter) or final offer letter, your appeal will be considered by a panel of three elected members. You and/or your representative will be invited to attend the hearing and will be provided with details of when and where the hearing will take place.
If your review request is received outside of the 21 day deadline you will not be entitled to a panel hearing unless there are exceptional circumstances which prevented you from requesting a review within the 21 day deadline. Your review will be dealt with by an independent officer and you will receive a written response.
The 12 local authorities in the North East, as part of the North East Regional Homelessness Group (NERHG), agreed to adopt the No Second Night Out Standard for helping people who are sleeping rough.
No Second Night Out (NSNO) tries to make sure that anyone new to sleeping on the streets gets help so that they do not have to have a second night there.
To report rough sleeping in Gateshead email Oasis Aquila Housing or call 0800 056 8588