If you apply for help with homelessness, we assess your needs to see if you are eligible for help
When you apply for help due to homelessness, we assess whether you are:
- eligible for assistance (this means we can help you)
- homeless or threatened with homelessness
- in priority need
- not intentionally homeless.
Each of these terms has a particular legal meaning.
We also consider if you have a local connection to Bournemouth.
Please note - the legal duties are complicated, so the information below is for guidance only.
Eligible for assistance
You'll usually be eligible for help if you:
- live in the UK, are a British citizen and have not recently spent time living in other countries
- have refugee status or indefinite leave to remain in the UK
- are a citizen of the European Union who is a worker in the UK.
Some other people from abroad are also eligible for assistance, depending on their circumstances.
We look at the eligibility of all the people in a homeless application.
Homeless or threatened with homelessness
To decide if you're homeless, we have to look at any accommodation that you have access to, and whether or not you are at risk of homelessness in the next 28 days.
We may consider you homeless if:
- you have no home in the UK, or anywhere else in the world, where you can live together with your immediate family
- the property you live in is no longer suitable or safe for you.
In priority need
We will look into your circumstances to decide if you are in priority need according to the law. You'll normally be in priority need if you or one of the people included in your application is in one of the following categories:
- pregnant women (and people who live with them)
- people who are responsible for dependent children
- people made homeless by fire, flood or other disaster
- some people aged 16 or 17
- some care leavers
- other people who are particularly vulnerable.
Not intentionally homeless
We must also assess whether you are 'intentionally homeless'. We may consider you intentionally homeless if you have lost accommodation because of something that you did, or failed to do, which led to you becoming homeless. This could include, but is not limited to:
- not paying your rent or mortgage
- being evicted due to anti-social behaviour
- leaving accommodation where you could have remained.
We are responsible for helping homeless people who are Bournemouth residents or people who have applied to us for help because it's unsafe for them to live in the area where they usually live.
If we find that you don't have a local connection with Bournemouth, we may refer you to another council for help. We won't refer you to an area where you wouldn't be safe.
If you're eligible for help
We notify you in writing as soon as possible with a decision on your homelessness application. The decision will be quicker if you bring all the information required and it can be confirmed easily. You'll be told what documents you need to bring at your assessment.
You can ask for a review if you're unhappy with the council's decision.
If we accept we have a duty to help you, we provide you with temporary accommodation.
If you're not eligible for help
We may be able to help you in other ways if we don't have a duty to help you. Your Housing Options Officer will discuss your options with you in detail.