If you are homeless as a result of an emergency outside of our normal office hours (after 5pm, Monday to Friday), please call 01253 501117.
If you are at risk of becoming homeless or are worried about your housing situation, it is important to act as soon as possible.
We have a duty to help you to prevent your homelessness and to help you to stay in your home or find other suitable accommodation.
If you think there is a possibility you may become homeless, contact us as soon as possible so that we can:
- try to prevent your homelessness
- advise you about your housing rights and options
- advise you about what help we can offer you if you become homeless
If needed, you will be offered a follow-up appointment, which may include a home visit if necessary.
You will be asked to provide us with certain information and it is very important that you bring this to your appointment.
Let us know in advance if there is anything you cannot find or provide.
If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, we can work with you to help remain in your current home or, if that isn't possible, to find you somewhere else to live.
The prevention duty means that for 56 days we will work with you to try to prevent you from becoming homeless. The relief duty means that for another 56 days we will try to help you resolve your homelessness.
During these duties we will do a number of things to support you, this will vary depending on why you are threatened with homelessness or have become homeless. Some of the support we can provide includes:
- speaking to your landlord to resolve any problems
- supporting you in returning home
- advice and assistance to help you into private rentals
- option of social housing through the allocations process.
After these duties, if we have not been able to keep you in your accommodation or found you somewhere else to live, then we will have to assess if you are owed a main housing duty. We will look at if you are eligible, have a priority need, became intentionally homeless and have a local connection to the district.
Under our severe weather emergency provision (SWEP), we are able to accommodate those who would not usually be accommodated in temporary accommodation while we support them during periods of prolonged cold, damp or windy weather. There is no single definition of severe weather, but we aim to take a flexible approach based on advice from agencies who deal with people on the streets.
South Cambridgeshire being a rural district we have very little to no provisions to assist rough sleepers, however, we do work closely with our neighbouring authorities to fund and support rough sleepers through access schemes and Jimmy’s Cambridge.
If you see someone who is in need of immediate medical attention, call 999 or 111 (with option 2 for a mental health crisis).
The Housing Advice Service can provide advice on a wide range of housing issues, from landlord disputes to homelessness.
Please see the link to the factsheets below if you fall into one of the following groups, they contain housing advice specifically tailored to your needs:
If you do not agree with the review decisions you can make an appeal. Find out how to request a review of your homelessness decision.
Review of your homeless decision
- If you do not agree with the review decision you can make an appeal.
- If you approach us to ask for housing assistance under the Housing Act 1996, Part VII (amended), you have the right to request a review in some circumstances.
- You can appeal to the county court on any point of law arising from the decision of the review, or on the original decision if we have not met the time limit to complete your review.
- An appeal must be brought within 21 days of the date we tell you of our review decision.
- If you are considering appealing to the county court, the local Citizens Advice Bureau can assist you.
For independent advice, you can contact:
Cambridge Citizens Advice Bureau
66 Devonshire Road
Telephone: 0344 848 7979
For independent advice visit the Citizens Advice website.
Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Telephone: 0300 061 0614
Take a look at their fact sheet, aimed at people who are, or may become, homeless and may be considering making a complaint to the Ombudsman.
When can you request a review?
Examples of when you can request a review:
- When we have made a decision that you are not eligible for assistance
- If you do not agree with what duty, if any, we owe you if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness
- If you do not agree with the steps we take as stated in your Personal Housing Plan under the prevention and/or relief duty
- If we have ended its prevention or relief duty to you
- If we have served notice due to deliberate and unreasonable refusal to cooperate with the steps set out in your Personal Housing Plan
- If we have referred its relief duty to another local authority and the referral has been accepted by the notified authority
- If we have referred its main homeless duty to another local authority
- If another local authority has accepted a referral of a main homeless duty
- If we have has offered accommodation after accepting a main homeless duty and you feel that this accommodation is unsuitable
- If we have offered accommodation intended to end its prevention, relief or main homeless duty and you feel that this accommodation is unsuitable
Asking for a review
You must ask for a review within 21 days of the date of the letter notifying you of the decision.
You can make this request in writing. If you are unable to write, please contact us in person or by telephone, confirming that you are asking for a review.
Your review will be considered by a senior officer on the team who was not involved in making the original decision that you are asking to be reviewed.
The request should be addressed to:
Housing Advice and Homelessness Service
South Cambridgeshire District Council
Cambourne Business Park
Local Government Ombudsman
Making a complaint
If you are not satisfied with our review decision you can make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.
The ombudsman will consider a complaint if you believe you have been treated unfairly as a result of maladministration.
Examples of being treated unfairly:
- Delayed taking action without good reason
- taken into account irrelevant information and ignored relevant ones
- not followed our own rules or complied with the law
- given you wrong information
- not reached a decision in the correct way
The ombudsman will not investigate certain matters, for example, if 12 months has passed since the cause for complaint occurred or when matters are or could be subject to court proceedings.
Important: If you are unable to make a review request within the time limit, you can still ask for a review, providing reasons for your delay. We may refuse to consider an out of date request.
Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Telephone: 0300 061 0614
Change of circumstances
What if I have new information or my circumstances have changed since the decision was made?
If you have new information which you feel should have been taken into account in making the decision, you should ask for your application to be looked at again.
This will be done by the officer who made the original decision. If the information does not change our decision, it will be considered during your review.
Where you will live
Will I be given somewhere to live during the review process?
If you request a review of the suitability of an offer of accommodation which we have made in order to end its relief duty, you are already in temporary accommodation and you would be owed a main homeless duty, we will provide accommodation during the review process.
We also have the power to accommodate you under exceptional circumstances pending a decision on a review in all other circumstances.
What happens next?
You will be asked for any extra information you feel should be considered that was not included in your original request for a review.
It is in your best interest to provide us with as much information as possible. If you do not provide any extra information within the time given, the review will be based on the facts already known to us.
Length of review
We must make a decision on your review and provide a decision in writing within a given time, dependent on what decision you are asking to be reviewed. This may be extended in agreement with you.
The deadlines are as follows:
- 3 weeks from the date of the review request of a decision to bring the prevention duty to an end
- 8 weeks from the date of the review request of a decision to bring the relief duty to an end, decision on eligibility, decisions on duties owed, decisions to refer and decisions on suitability of accommodation
- 10 weeks from the date of the review request of a decision jointly made by this and another local authority on whether the conditionals for a referral have been met
During the review process, if it appears that there has been some irregularity in the original decision but that the decision is likely to be upheld, you will be invited to a meeting to discuss this. This is known as an oral hearing.
The decisions open us
- To accept your appeal, which may mean that we reconsider your application
- To reject your appeal, which means our decision remains the same
- To issue a new decision based on the new information you’ve provided