Homeless (relief duty)

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This page will provide information on support someone will receive if they are homeless and are owed the relief duty.

On this page:

When the relief duty applies

If we have not been able to prevent homelessness under the prevention duty or the customer is already homeless and has not sought assistance from us previously, then the relief duty will be owed. This duty:

  • enables us to take steps to help secure suitable accommodation
  • can last up to 56 days
  • is available to all households who are homeless and eligible, regardless of whether they have a priority need

If the customer has not approached the service at risk of homelessness before, we will carry out a full assessment. Please see our homeless or at risk of losing your home page for more information.

Local connection

The customer will need to have a local connection to Reading. You have a local connection to Reading if:

  • you have lived in the Reading borough for 6 out of the last 12 months or 3 out of the last 5 years
  • you have a close family member (parent, brother, sister or adult children) who has lived in the Reading borough for 5 years
  • you work within the Reading borough
  • you are at risk where you have a local connection and no other area is safe for you

If there is not a local connection to Reading and the relief duty is owed, the customer may be referred to the authority where they do have a local connection, if it is safe and appropriate to do so.

What the relief duty involves

If the customer is a priority need household, for example, if there are dependent children or the customer is vulnerable in some way, we will provide emergency housing whilst we work to help secure alternative accommodation. Any emergency accommodation offered will be very short term and the customer will be expected to continue to find their own accommodation, with our support. This help could include:

  • offering accommodation under our Rent Guarantee Scheme
  • assisting with a cash deposit to secure privately rented accommodation
  • making referrals for specific accommodation, such as refuge or hostels

We will update or issue a personalised housing plan to reflect that the relief duty is owed and set actions to enable suitable accommodation to be secured.

Customers may also be asked to move to a different accommodation at short notice. Please be aware that not everyone who is homeless will be provided with interim accommodation and this will be discussed with the customer in detail during the assessment.

Ending the relief duty

The relief duty can end in the following ways:

  • if we have successfully relieved homelessness and we are satisfied that suitable accommodation is secured and is expected to be available for at least 6 months
  • if the customer accepts or refuses a final offer of accommodation
  • if the application is withdrawn or we are unable to make contact with the customer
  • if the customer ceases to be eligible for housing assistance
  • if customer loses interim accommodation intentionally that has been provided under the relief duty
  • if we have taken reasonable steps for 56 days to help secure accommodation and it has not been successful (a main duty decision will be made)
  • if the customer deliberately and unreasonably refuses to co-operate with the personalised housing plan (if they are in priority need and not intentionally homeless, they will receive a final offer of a tenancy lasting at least 6 months but will not be owed the main housing duty)
  • if the customer refuses an offer of suitable accommodation which is expected to be available for at least 6 months

The customer will be notified in writing if the relief duty is going to end. If they disagree with a decision to end the relief duty, they can request a review.

Points at which decisions can be reviewed

The customer has the right to request a review of the following decisions:

  • of their eligibility for assistance
  • what duty is owed to them when they are homeless or threatened with homelessness
  • of the steps and actions set out in their personalised housing plan
  • the decision to end the prevention or relief duty
  • any notice service in cases of deliberate and unreasonable refusal to cooperate
  • the decision to refer their case to another local council
  • the suitability of any accommodation offered

The customer must request a review within 21 days of receiving a decision. Once the local council receives this request, they have 8 weeks to provide a response. During this period, the customer will need to actively participate in the process and submit evidence to support their review request.

Getting in touch with the Homelessness Prevention Service

You can contact the Homeless Prevention Service online by filling in an online form.

Last updated on 04/06/2024