West Berkshire Council

Homelessness Help and Prevention

Advice, help and prevention if you're at risk of becoming homeless

If you are homeless, or think you might become homeless in the future, you should tell us as soon as you can.  We'll talk about your situation with you and give some advice to you straight away. We may also offer you an appointment to talk you through your housing options or, if you expect to be homeless tonight; you will need to visit us at our Market Street Offices during business hours.

If you become homeless outside of business hours, please contact the Emergency Duty Team on 01344 786543.

What do we mean by 'homeless'?

Homelessness doesn't just mean 'sleeping rough'.  You're considered homeless if you don't have a home that you can legally occupy, but you may also be considered as homeless if you have a home, but can't live there.  This might be because you've been evicted illegally from it, or it is unreasonable for you to stay there, for example because of domestic violence or threats of violence against you or a member of your family.

We're also committed to helping anyone who is 'threatened with homelessness' having been served with notice to leave owing to financial difficulties, or for any other reason.

We don't want you to wait to lose the roof over your head before you come to us.

Our priority is prevention

Our aim is to help to prevent you becoming homeless.

We can arrange mediation, provide advice regarding Housing Benefit, Discretionary Housing Payment, refer you to tenancy support, negotiate with your landlord or mortgage advisor and provide advice on alternative accommodation.  Please contact us as soon as you're threatened with repossession action.
Our pdf icon Housing Options leaflet [1Mb] gives more information.

We can't help everybody

The law states which households can get help under homelessness legislation.  Single people without children often don't qualify for homelessness assistance, unless there's a reason that means they are less able to look after themselves, and are likely to come to significant harm.

If you lose your home because of anti-social behaviour or because you knowingly broke the rules, such as not paying the rent or mortgage, you may be considered to be 'intentionally homeless'.  In such a situation if we can't prevent the loss of your home, we will offer you advice about other housing options that might available to you.

Temporary accommodation

In some cases we will need to provide you with emergency temporary accommodation.  This could be through a bed and breakfast, or through hostel accommodation.  Sometimes this accommodation won't be within our district and you'll be expected to financially contribute towards it.  

We work hard to limit the number of families we place in bed and breakfast and would much prefer to find other solutions or help find you a place to rent - but we're also aware that this isn't always possible.

If you have nowhere to stay tonight

Visit us at our Market Street Offices. No appointment is necessary, although you may have to wait until our Duty Officer becomes available. Please try to visit as early in the day as possible to allow us time to try and resolve your situation.

If you become homeless when our offices are closed, please contact the Emergency Duty Team on 01344 786543.

Further information and advice can be found in our leaflet, pdf icon Worried About Homelessness? [254kb].

Who To Contact