Important changes for housing customers and the Housing Register
The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 will change homelessness law by introducing a legal duty on the Council to help prevent people losing their home. If homelessness cannot be prevented, the Act also requires the Council and customers to take reasonable steps to help find accommodation to relieve their homelessness. The new duties are not focused on whether a customer has a priority need.
To respond to this, the Council is changing the computer system it uses to allocate social housing and deliver the housing options and homelessness services.
When is this being changed?
The changes will be happening in late April 2018.
What does this mean?
The Council is not changing the way social housing properties are allocated, but the new system will offer a more streamlined and accessible service for customers with an emphasis on homeless prevention.
Other benefits include:-
- The service is available 24/7
- Customers will be able to do more themselves
- Reduces paperwork and form filling
I am already on the Housing Register
If you are already on the Housing Register you will not need to complete a new application form. Your priority band and date will remain the same. However, to bid for properties or to update your housing circumstances you will need to login to the Home Connections website, not Herts Choice Homes.
I want to apply for housing through the Council
To apply to join the Housing Register you will need to visit the Home Connections website and complete a housing application form. If you qualify to join the Housing Register your application will be made live, although in some circumstances your housing application may need to be assessed by a housing officer first.
The changes do not increase the number of homes available and unfortunately most people on the Housing Register are not successful in bidding for properties.
I have been asked to leave my home
If you have been asked to leave your home, the first thing you need to do is complete a housing application on the Home Connections website.
If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days, you will be allocated a housing options officer. After you have submitted your application following the above link, your housing options officer will contact you to make an appointment; this will likely be at the Council offices in Rickmansworth. Your housing options officer will work with you to try to prevent your homelessness or if this is not possible, help you find alternative housing, in most cases this will be in the private rented sector. During this time we would encourage you to keep looking for your own rental options as it will significantly increase your control over where you live.
I am homeless tonight
If you have nowhere to stay tonight as you do not have accommodation or you have accommodation but it is not reasonable for you to return, please complete the online application. This will enable us to have all the information required for you to contact the Housing Options Team on 01923 776611.