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The Pom Queen

Moving Back to UK - Help with Housing

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Sometimes things don't work out overseas for one reason or another and you may have to return to the UK with no money, no family to turn to, no job, house etc. This is obviously a difficult and upsetting situation to be in but there is help available if you think you're going to be homeless.


There are a number of different housing options open to you, depending on your age, income and what is available in your area. Your three main options are supported housing or hostels, making a homeless application to the council or renting from a private landlord.


Supported housing includes a variety of different kinds of housing such as hostels, shared houses, or a flat of your own. You normally get help from support workers who visit you regularly or work in the same building. They often help with benefits, housing, training, education or anything else you might need extra help with. One example of supported housing is a Foyer. Foyers provide housing, training and support for young people. There are foyer schemes around the UK.

To find out what supported housing exists in your area talk to a local advice agency such as a Citizens Advice Bureau or a housing aid centre.




If you're going to be homeless you can also apply to the council for help by making a homeless application. The council will have to provide you with housing advice but they only have to provide emergency housing to people who are classed as being in priority need, this includes people who have children or have significant physical or mental health problems or are vulnerable for other reasons.




You can also look at the possibility of privately renting a home. You can find privately rented housing through estate agents, letting agencies, newsagents' windows and advertisements in local newspapers. If you use an agency it will usually charge fees for references and administration charges. You'll also need money up-front to pay for rent in advance (usually one month) and a deposit (at least the equivalent of one month's rent).



If you don't have the money for a deposit, you may be able to get help from a bond scheme. These organisations will guarantee a deposit instead of you having to pay a deposit. To find out if there is a bond scheme in your local area you can contact Crisis SmartMove or check with your local council or advice centre as the website does not list all schemes.



If you find somewhere to rent, you may be eligible for housing benefit. Housing benefit is available to help people who are on benefits or who have low incomes to pay their rent. But it's important to bear in mind that sometimes your housing benefit can be restricted and will only cover a certain amount of your rent.



If you are homeless and in an emergency and want to speak to someone before you contact the council then you could phone Shelterline, a free, confidential, national housing advice phoneline, on 0808 800 4444. If you would like to speak to someone about other services for young people in your area you can call Get Connected, a free, confidential, national phoneline for young people, on 0808 808 4994 between 1pm and 11pm daily.



You could look at homeshare.


In Homeshare, someone who needs a small amount of help to live independently in their own home is matched with someone who has a housing need and can provide support or companionship.



Homeshare schemes arrange the matching process between the ‘Householder’, who typically owns their home but has developed some support needs or has become isolated or anxious about living alone, with the ‘Homesharer‘, typically a younger student or key public service worker who cannot afford housing.



Usually no rent is charged, but the household bills are shared, and in return the Homesharer will help out around the house, for example by cooking meals, running errands, shopping trips and providing company. Homeshare works because a new relationship, designed to bring benefits to both people, is balanced with clarity and safeguards to protect everyone.






Housing advice centres



Housing advice centres can offer advice and information about all aspects of housing. Some are run by local authorities while others are run by voluntary organisations.



Details of independent housing advice centres are available from:-







88 Old Street

London EC1V 9HU

Helpline: 0808 800 4444

Email: info@shelter.org.uk

Website: www.shelter.org.uk






Shelter Cymru

25 Walter Road

Swansea SA1 5NN

Tel: 01792 469400

Fax: 01792 460050

E-mail: mail@sheltercymru.org.uk

Website: www.sheltercymru.org.uk







4th Floor

Scotia Bank House

6 South Charlotte Street

Edinburgh EH2 4AW

Tel: 0844 515 2000

Website: http://scotland.shelter.org.uk



Shelter also operates a free housing advice helpline for anyone with a housing problem. The service is available via minicom and textphone, and a special translation service can be provided where necessary. Tel: 0808 800 4444.



Northern Ireland



Housing Rights Service

Middleton Buildings

Fourth Floor

10-12 High Street

Belfast BT1 2BA

Tel: 028 9024 5640

Fax: 028 9031 2200

E-mail: hrs@housingrights.org.uk

Website: www.housing-rights.org.uk



The Scottish Housing Regulator



The Scottish Housing Regulator

Highlander House

58 Waterloo Street


G2 7DA



Tel: 0141 271 3810

Fax: 0141 221 5030

E-mail: shr@scottishhousingregulator.gsi.gov.uk

Website: www.scottishhousingregulator.gov.uk



Housing rights information for people coming from abroad



There is a useful website about housing for people who come from abroad, for example, refugees, people who hold work permits, people in the UK with indefinite leave to remain and EEA nationals. The website address for England and Wales is www.housing-rights.info. Information for Scotland can be found on the same website at www.housing-rights.info. In Northern Ireland, you can find information at www.housingadviceni.org.uk.

If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

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Eligibility for council housing depends on your nationality, immigration status and if you've recently lived abroad.


What does eligibility mean?


The council can't allow you onto its housing waiting list or housing register if you are not eligible.


Most people are eligible but some people from abroad are not.


British citizens


You are eligible to apply for council housing if you are a British citizen living in the UK and you have not lived abroad recently.


Each council has its own local rules about who qualifies to go on the housing register in its area.


British citizens who have been living abroad


If you are British, the council can only provide housing for you if you live in the UK.


This is called the habitual residence test.


To assess if you're habitually resident in the UK, the council considers:


where you live and work

where your family or friends are

the reasons why you have come to live in the area

where you intend to live in future

if you had been habitually resident in the UK in the past

You may be affected by the habitual residence test if you are a British citizen who has been living outside the UK, Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man for some time.


If you are not eligible to apply for council housing immediately, you may qualify after you've been back in the UK for a few months.


People with a long-term or indefinite right to stay


You may be eligible for council housing if you normally live in the UK and you:


are a worker from the European Economic Area (EEA) (the EU countries plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein)

are a self employed EEA worker or a member of an EEA worker's family

have indefinite leave to remain in the UK (settled status)

have refugee status

have exceptional leave to remain, discretionary leave or humanitarian protection, as long as your immigration status doesn't specify that you should have no recourse to public funds



People with a short term or limited right to stay


You are not allowed to apply for council housing if you are from abroad, subject to UK immigration control and have a short-term or limited right to stay.


You won't be eligible if you have a visit visa or student visa or your conditions of stay specify that you have no recourse to public funds.


Asylum seekers don't qualify for council housing. You may be able to claim asylum support.


If you have children, a disability or special support needs, you may be able to get help from council social services.


People with no right to stay


You can't apply for a council home if you entered the UK unlawfully and have not been granted any leave to remain here or if you have overstayed your visa.

If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

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