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Housing advice for vulnerable groups

Housing advice for prisoners and ex-prisoners

Keeping your home whilst in prison

If you are in prison and had a home before you were sent to prison it is important to take steps to keep your previous accommodation.

Keeping your home - If you received Housing Benefit

If you are on bail and your bail conditions prevent you from living in your home, you can receive Housing Benefit for up to 52 weeks if you intend to return. You can receive Housing Benefit for up to 52 weeks whilst on remand. If you have been sentenced and imprisoned, you can receive Housing Benefit for up to 13 weeks if you expect to return home in that time.

Keeping your home - If you received Universal Credit

If you were receiving help to pay your rent from Universal Credit before going to prison, you can continue to receive Universal Credit to pay housing costs for up to six months. You will not get help with housing costs if you are expected to be in prison for longer than six months.

Keeping your home - living with a partner

If your partner lived with you before you went to prison, your partner may be able to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to pay the rent. Your partner can apply even if they are not listed on the tenancy.

Homeless on release from prison or young offender institution

If you have nowhere to live after your release from prison, the prison will make a referral to a council, under the duty to refer, at least 56 days before your release.

The council will:

  • Assess whether they have a duty to provide you with temporary accommodation.
    • The council does not have to accommodate everyone leaving prison.
    • If the council does not provide you with accommodation, you will need to ask family and friends if they can help you, whilst you look for a private rented property.
  • Advise you on how to find accommodation.
    • Your housing officer will draw up a personal housing plan with the steps we will take and the steps you need to take to find somewhere to live.
  • Refer you to supported accommodation, where appropriate. The council can refer you to supported accommodation. The accommodation provider will then meet with you to decide if the accommodation is suitable.

If you have nowhere to stay and are sleeping rough following your release we will put you in contact with the Rough Sleepers Initiative team, for advice and assistance. If you have a probation officer they may be able to assist you by making a referral to supported accommodation.

The housing register - social housing

If you are eligible, meet the qualification and local connection requirements, you can apply to join the housing register for social (Council and housing association) housing.

It is important to understand that there is a shortage of social housing in Lewes and Eastbourne and the waiting times are long.

Your application will be assessed and if are entitled to join the register you will be given a band in accordance with the allocation policy.

Homeless applicants who have not had a full housing duty accepted need to meet the Local Connection criteria and will then go into band C.

Homeless applicants for whom a full housing duty has been accepted do not need to meet the Local Connection criteria and will be placed in band B if they are living in our temporary accommodation, or have made their own temporary arrangements

The housing register is the only route into social (other than supported) housing.

Waiting Times for Social Housing

Lewes and Eastbourne Councils each have about 1000 applicants on the housing register.

On Band C a household can expect to wait over 5 years and on Band B more than 2-3 years, Band A 1-2 years.

The quickest route to securing alternative accommodation is into the private rented sector. Lewes and Eastbourne Councils can help homeless applicants with financial assistance for rent in advance and deposit and rent guarantee schemes

Further information

For more information look at the Council's leaflets and also Finding accommodation self-help guide.

NACRO (National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders), offers support to individuals.

Tel: 0300 123 1999

Women in Prison offers support for women affected by the criminal justice system in prisons

Tel: 020 7359 667

Housing advice for care leavers

Housing problems? Contact your personal adviser

If you are a care leaver and have housing problems, you should initially contact your personal adviser. Your personal adviser will have drawn up a pathway plan which supports you in making the move to living independently. The plan should cover where you will live and what happens if things don't go according to the plan and you risk being homeless.

Once you reach 18 years old Social Services may not have a duty to provide you with accommodation, but your pathway plan should cover your housing options.

At about 17½ years old your personal adviser should offer you a meeting with a housing officer to plan your housing options when you reach 18.

Once Social Services no longer have a duty to provide you with accommodation, options available to you include:

Finding private, rented accommodation.

If you are not working or are on a low income you will normally get help with rent payments from Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. Until you are aged 25 you will be entitled to the 1-bed Local Housing Allowance (LHA) (the maximum benefit you can get for your housing costs). The LHA amount varies from area to area. To find out how much you could receive go to Valuation Office Agency (VOA)

See the leaflet looking for somewhere to live for more information.

Supported Accommodation

If you would like some help before you are ready to live independently, your personal adviser may be able to refer you to accommodation provided by the YMCA or Eastbourne or Newhaven Foyers. Foyers provide supported accommodation for young people. They offer services such as support, education, help with budgeting, training, employment cooking and maintaining accommodation.

The housing waiting list for social housing

If you were placed in care by East Sussex County Council, as a care leaver until the age of 21, you can apply to be placed on either Eastbourne or Lewes Councils' housing registers.

If you were placed by another council and have lived in East Sussex for at least two years, including time before you were 16, you can apply to either Eastbourne or Lewes Councils' housing registers.

More information is available on our Apply for housing page.

It is important to understand that there is a shortage of social housing in Lewes and Eastbourne and the waiting times can be long.

Your application will be assessed and if you are entitled to join the register you will be given a banding in accordance with the allocation policy.

Whilst you are in care and are ready to move on you will be placed in band A. After you leave care, your banding will be assessed in line with the policy

Homeless applicants who have not had a full housing duty accepted need to meet the local connection requirement and will then go into band C.

Homeless applicants for whom a full housing duty has been accepted do not need to meet the local connection criteria and will be placed in band B if they are living in our temporary accommodation, or have made their own temporary arrangements

The housing register is the only route into social (other than supported) housing.

Waiting times for Social Housing

Lewes and Eastbourne Councils each have about 1000 applicants on the housing register.

On Band C a household can expect to wait over 5 years and on Band B more than 2-3 years, Band A 1-2 years.

The quickest route to securing alternative accommodation is into the private rented sector. Lewes and Eastbourne Councils can help homeless applicants with financial assistance for rent in advance and deposit and rent guarantee schemes

Further information

For more information see the Councils' leaflets and also Finding accommodation self-help guide.

Housing Advice for former members of the regular Armed Forces

Armed Forces Covenant

Eastbourne Borough and Lewes District Councils are signatories to the Armed Forces Covenant.

If you are leaving the Armed Forces and will be homeless you can get help from:

Joint Service Housing Advice Office
Floor 2, Zone 2
Montgomery House
Queen's Avenue
Aldershot
Hampshire
GU11 2JN

Advice line: 07814 612120
Email: RC-Pers-JSHAO-0Mailbox@mod.gov.uk
Website: www.gov.uk

If you have served in the Armed Forces and are homeless, or about to become homeless, complete the Council's online application form or tel 01323 410000 or 01273 471600.

The Council will assess your case to decide what duty is owed to you. Not everyone who is homeless is entitled to temporary accommodation. We will help anyone who is homeless or threatened with homelessness to find somewhere to live

If you have nowhere to stay following your release we will put you in contact with the Rough Sleepers Initiative team, who can assist you.

Help for ex-Armed Forces Personnel

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, offers free support and advice for current and former members of the armed forces: ssafa.org.uk

Veterans' Gateway also offer free support and a free helpline: veteransgateway.org.uk Phone: 0800 731 4880

Veterans' Gateway also has a webpage devoted to housing: veteransgateway.org.uk/housing-advice-for-veterans

Royal British Legion: britishlegion.org.uk Phone: 0808 802 8080

Help for Heroes supports Service Personnel and Veterans who were injured or became ill during service, due to their service: helpforheroes.org.uk

Haig Housing Trust provides housing assistance for ex-service personnel. They offer housing at affordable rents throughout the UK: haighousing.org.uk/properties/apply-now

The housing register - social housing

If you are eligible, meet the qualification and local connection requirements, you can apply to join the housing register for social (Council and housing association) housing.

People in the following three categories can apply to the housing register in either Eastbourne or Lewes, and do not require a local connection:

  • Current or former service personnel if they apply within 5 years of discharge
  • A bereaved spouse or civil partner of armed forces personnel who is leaving Services Family Accommodation following the death of their spouse or civil partner
  • A serving or former member of the Reserves Forces who needs to move because of a serious injury, medical condition, or disability sustained as a result of their service

It is important to understand that there is a shortage of social housing in Lewes and Eastbourne and the waiting times are long.

Your application will be assessed and if are entitled to join the register you will be given a band in accordance with the allocation policy.

Homeless applicants who have not had a full housing duty accepted need to meet the Local Connection criteria and will then go into band C.

Homeless applicants for whom a full housing duty has been accepted do not need to meet the Local Connection criteria and will be placed in band B if they are living in our temporary accommodation, or have made their own temporary arrangements

The housing register is the only route into social (other than supported) housing.

Waiting times for Social Housing

Lewes and Eastbourne Councils each have about 1000 applicants on the housing register.

On Band C a household can expect to wait over 5 years and on Band B more than 2-3 years, Band A 1-2 years.

The quickest route to securing alternative accommodation is into the private rented sector. Lewes and Eastbourne Councils can help homeless applicants with financial assistance for rent in advance and deposit and rent guarantee schemes.

Further information

For more information see the Councils' leaflets and also Finding accommodation self-help guide.

Housing advice if you are experiencing domestic abuse

People who are experiencing domestic abuse or domestic violence

Women experiencing domestic abuse can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline. Phone: 0808 2000 247

Men experiencing domestic abuse can contact the Men's Advice Line. Phone: 0808 8010 327.

People in a same-sex relationship experiencing domestic abuse can call the National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline. Phone: 0800 999 5428

The Women's Aid directory of local services.

If you wish to remain in your home, you can get legal advice on obtaining a court order (injunction) to protect you from being harmed or threatened (a non-molestation order), or an occupation order, or a court order which decides who can live in your home and can prevent an abusive partner from living there.

You can get legal advice from BHT Sussex or a solicitor specialising in family law. If you are on benefits or on low income you may get Legal Aid to help with the legal costs.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and extra security measures would help you, you can apply to the Sanctuary Scheme for help to make your home more secure, with better locks on doors and windows for example.

For women, if you feel unsafe and need to leave your home to seek accommodation in a women's refuge, call the National Domestic Violence Helpline. Phone: 0808 2000 247.

Support for survivors of domestic abuse in East Sussex can be found at: changegrowlive.org/domestic-abuse-service-east-sussex/info

Assistance from the Council

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and need to move out of your home, you can contact Lewes and Eastbourne Councils, tel: 01323 410000 or 01273 471600.

Housing advice if you will be homeless on discharge from hospital

If you have nowhere to live after your discharge from hospital, the hospital's discharge co-ordinator can make a referral to a council, under the duty to refer, before you leave hospital.

The council will:

  • Assess whether they have a duty to provide you with temporary accommodation.
    • The council does not have to accommodate everyone leaving hospital.
    • If the council does not provide you with accommodation, you will need to ask family and friends if they can help you, whilst you look for a private rented property.
  • Advise you on how to find accommodation.
    • With your housing officer, a personal housing plan will be drawn up with the steps the council and you need to take to find somewhere to live
  • Refer you to supported accommodation, where appropriate.

Further information

If you have nowhere to stay after you leave hospital, we will put you in contact with the Rough Sleepers Initiative team, who can help you.

For more information see the Councils' leaflets and also Finding accommodation self-help guide.

The housing register - social housing

If you are eligible, meet the qualification and local connection requirements, you can apply to join the housing register for social (Council and housing association) housing.

It is important to understand that there is a shortage of social housing in Lewes and Eastbourne and the waiting times are long.

Your application will be assessed and if are entitled to join the register you will be given a band in accordance with the allocation policy.

Homeless applicants who have not had a full housing duty accepted need to meet the Local Connection criteria and will then go into band C.

Homeless applicants for whom a full housing duty has been accepted do not need to meet the Local Connection criteria and will be placed in band B if they are living in our temporary accommodation, or have made their own temporary arrangements

The housing register is the only route into social (other than supported) housing.

Waiting times for Social Housing

Lewes and Eastbourne Councils each have about 1000 applicants on the housing register.

On Band C a household can expect to wait over 5 years and on Band B more than 2-3 years, Band A 1-2 years.

The quickest route to securing alternative accommodation is into the private rented sector. Lewes and Eastbourne Councils can help homeless applicants with financial assistance for rent in advance and deposit and rent guarantee schemes.

Housing advice for people with mental illnesses

Support for people with mental health issues

Poor mental health makes it more likely that people will lose their accommodation. Homelessness can also lead to a deterioration in mental health.

If you are experiencing problems with your mental health that may lead to you becoming homeless it is important to get help with your mental health and advice on how to keep your accommodation. It is better to act quickly, delay may mean you losing your accommodation.

To get help and support for your mental health you can go to your doctor, or if you are in a crisis with your mental health call the Sussex Mental Healthline 0800 0309 500. They offer crisis care 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone in Sussex needing urgent mental health support.

East Sussex County Council's mental health directory gives more information on mental health services and support.

You can get housing advice from BHT Sussex Tel: Eastbourne Advice Centre 01323 642615 or Brighton Advice Centre 01273 645455.

Social Services Support

If, because of your mental or physical health, you find it difficult to do regular daily tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, paying bills, feeding yourself, bathing, getting dressed, you may be able to get help from social services.

To get this help you will need to ask social services to do a needs assessment. East Sussex County Council have an online assessment: Assess yourself | East Sussex County Council or you can contact them: tel 0345 60 80 191 or email: hscc@eastsussex.gov.uk

Homeless or threat of homelessness

If you are homeless, or about to become homeless, you can apply for help from the Council by completing the online application form or tel 01323 410000 or 01273 471600.

The Council will assess your case to decide what duty is owed to you. Not everyone who is homeless is entitled to temporary accommodation. We will help anyone who is homeless or threatened with homelessness to find somewhere to live

Supported Housing

Supported housing is available for people who are homeless, unable to live independently and need some support to help them keep accommodation. For most of the schemes you will need to be referred by the Council.

Eastbourne and Wealden YMCA has supported housing for 16 to 25 year olds.

Eastbourne Foyer, run by YMCA, provides supported accommodation for people aged between 16 to 25 years old.

Newhaven Foyer, run by the Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA) provides supported housing for people aged 16 to 24 years old.

Sanctuary Housing has two schemes: One for people with mental health problems and additional support needs. Another scheme provides accommodation and support for homeless people with drug/alcohol addiction, mental health problems and mild learning difficulties.

The Colonnades, Eastbourne, is a block of 74 flats with support.

The housing register - social housing

If you are eligible, meet the qualification and local connection requirements, you can apply to join the housing register for social (Council and housing association) housing.

It is important to understand that there is a shortage of social housing in Lewes and Eastbourne and the waiting times are long.

Your application will be assessed and if are entitled to join the register you will be given a band in accordance with the allocation policy.

Homeless applicants who have not had a full housing duty accepted need to meet the Local Connection criteria and will then go into band C.

Homeless applicants for whom a full housing duty has been accepted do not need to meet the Local Connection criteria and will be placed in band B if they are living in our temporary accommodation, or have made their own temporary arrangements

The housing register is the only route into social (other than supported) housing.

Waiting times for Social Housing

Lewes and Eastbourne Councils each have about 1000 applicants on the housing register.

On Band C a household can expect to wait over 5 years and on Band B more than 2-3 years, Band A 1-2 years.

The quickest route to securing alternative accommodation is into the private rented sector. Lewes and Eastbourne Councils can help homeless applicants with financial assistance for rent in advance and deposit and rent guarantee schemes.

Further information

For more information see the Councils' leaflets and also Finding accommodation self-help guide.