South Cambridgeshire Logo
My South Cambs:
Sign in or register
People On Phone 1

Homelessness advice

If you are homeless as a result of an emergency, and need to contact us outside our normal office hours (after 5pm, Monday to Friday), please call 01253 501117.

If you are at risk of homelessness

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 prevent homelessness and to help you to stay in your home or find other suitable accommodation. We can talk to you about:

  • your housing rights and options
  • what help we can offer you if you become homeless

For advice and guidance from one of our advisers call us on 01954 713 000 or email  

Your Duty to Refer

Certain public bodies have a duty to refer anyone who they believe may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to the local housing authority of their choice, providing that person wants to be referred for assistance.

The law that created this duty is the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 S10.

Organisations that have consent to make a referral to South Cambridgeshire, and who feel it is appropriate to do so, can complete their referral through the Housing Assistance Referral Portal.

To refer, you will need to give:

  • the person's basic details (name, date of birth, contact information, last known address)
  • why they are homeless or threatened with homelessness?
  • how you are supporting them?

Make a housing assistance referral

All referrals will be reviewed and contact made with the applicant as soon as possible.

If we are satisfied that the applicant is eligible for help, and either threatened with homelessness within 56 days, or homeless now, a homeless application will be created. Otherwise, we will provide as much advice and assistance as we can.

For more information please visit our duty to refer page.

Severe weather emergency provision (SWEP)

Under our SWEP, we are able to accommodate those who would not usually be accommodated in temporary accommodation. We can support you during periods of prolonged cold, damp or windy weather during the months of November to March.

Anyone in South Cambridgeshire who needs to access this service should contact us by one of the following methods to speak with our Housing Advice and Homelessness Team:

Rough sleepers advice

We work closely with our outreach provider P3 to identify and support rough sleepers with the aim of accessing accommodation.

If you see someone sleeping rough, you can inform:

For further guidance please contact one of our advisors.

Prevention duty

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, including:

  • 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. You may be eligible if you:

  • have a priority need
  • became intentionally homeless
  • have a local connection to the district.

If you do not agree with the review decision you can make an appeal:

  • you can 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:

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
CB23 6EA

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.

When to request a review:

  • if 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.

Accommodation during your review

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.

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 we already know.

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.

Decision process

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.

Following the review we can: 

  • accept your appeal, which may mean that we reconsider your application
  • reject your appeal, which means our decision remains the same
  • issue a new decision based on the new information you’ve provided.

Contact Details