Homelessness: how we can help you

Housing

Alert

If you are already homeless, or if you are going to be homeless, our Housing Advice team can help you.

Please don't wait until you're homeless before contacting us. We want to act quickly and prevent you having nowhere to live.

The help we can give is specific to your personal situation. It can range from giving you advice and guidance specific to you, to offering you temporary or permanent accommodation.

Get housing help now

Please use our new online help tool to get help straight away.

Just answer a few questions about your situation and it will explain your housing options and tell you what to do next. It will tell you if you need to come in to see us urgently and what you need to bring.

Get housing help now

What help will I get?

Once you contact us, a Housing Officer will assess your circumstances and support needs. They will offer you tailored advice and support to help you find accommodation.

If we decide you're in 'priority' need we may offer you temporary accommodation.

What happens if I'm still homeless?

English law says that if we're not able to help you find accommodation after we've helped you for 56 days, we have a duty to assess you for accommodation.

The law that states this is part IIV of the Housing Act 1996.

To be entitled to temporary accommodation after 56 days, you must:

  • not be subject to immigration control
  • be homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless
  • be in 'priority need' - this includes care leavers; people with dependent children; pregnant women; and people vulnerable through old age, serious ill health, domestic violence, or other reasons
  • not be intentionally homeless - this means we don't have to help you if you've left suitable accommodation because of something you did, or failed to do, such as not paying rent or anti-social behaviour
  • have a local connection - usually this means living in Waltham Forest for six of the last 12 months or three of the last five years, or having a permanent job, or blood relative in the borough

Please bring with you:

  • proof of identity, such as a passport, birth certificate or Home Office documents
  • any information related to why you’re homeless, such as a notice to quit or notice of eviction from your landlord, or anything else relevant
  • proof of your income, such as benefits or payslips

Please also see if these situations are relevant to you:

  • if you have a medical condition that affects your housing needs, please bring a doctor’s/ hospital letter
  • if you can’t come in because of a physical disability, please email and we’ll arrange to come to you
  • if you’ve recently been discharged from the military, please bring your discharge papers
  • if you’re subject to MAPPA, please bring your risk assessment
  • if you’ve been released from long-term prison sentence, please bring your release papers or any documents relating to conditions of your release
  • if you’re a care leaver, please bring a letter from your social worker

Our Waltham Forest Directory has details of organisations offering emergency accommodation in the borough.

The following charities and agencies help people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless:

  • St Mungo's Waltham Forest Single Homeless Housing and Support Hub - provides support for people who are homeless, insecurely housed, or have received an eviction notice. You can email, phone, or visit in person at the Forest YMCA. See their contact details and download their leaflet.
  • Shelter - provides advice, support and legal services
  • Homeless UK - gives support and advice on accommodation and finding support services
  • No Second Night Out - focuses on helping people who are rough-sleeping for the first time

Leaving prison

Having spent time in prison or on remand does not mean we will automatically treat you as vulnerable and in priority need for housing. We will consider:

  • the length of time you spent in prison
  • if any third party support is being provided to you either by the probation service, a youth offending team, or drug and alcohol team
  • evidence provided by any third party (including any housing needs assessment) about your homelessness vulnerability
  • the period of time since your release from prison and how successful you have been in finding your own accommodation and in keeping that accommodation
  • support networks such as family, friends or a probation officer
  • evidence of any other vulnerability such as mental health problems, drug or alcohol misuse, or a history of having been in care
  • any other factors that might have an impact on your ability to find accommodation yourself

If you are threatened with homelessness, or are homeless, we have a duty to assess the circumstances of your homelessness, identify what your housing and support needs are, and to work with you to try to prevent your homelessness or support you to find you somewhere to live.

We will provide you with a ‘personal housing plan’ which will tell you what we can do to help you and what you can do to help yourself. This might include actions such as attending viewings or private sector or supported housing or engaging with organisations’ that can assist ex-offenders.

Offenders serving sentences of 12 months or more are released on licence and live in the community supervised by the probation service until the end of their sentence. If you are released on licence, your probation officer can help you find accommodation, as long as you have spent a continuous period of at least twelve months in custody.

Leaving hospital

If you are in hospital and are worried you will be homeless when you are discharged you should tell the hospital nursing staff as soon as possible. They will ask the hospital discharge team to support you.

The discharge team may refer you to the Housing Needs team at the council. We will assess your situation. You may be offered temporary accommodation while your application is assessed.

The Preventions and Assessment Team will try to identify housing problems at the earliest opportunity to hopefully prevent you from becoming homeless. If you are threatened with homelessness, or are homeless, we have a duty to assess the circumstances of your homelessness, identify what your housing and support needs are, and to work with you to try to prevent your homelessness or support you to find you somewhere to live.

We will provide you with a ‘personal housing plan’ which will tell you what we can do to help you and what you can do to help yourself. This might include actions such as attending viewings or private sector or supported housing.

If you are in hospital and are worried you will be homeless when you are discharged you should tell the hospital nursing staff as soon as possible. They will ask the hospital discharge team to support you.

The discharge team may refer you to the Housing Needs team at the council. We will assess your situation. You may be offered temporary accommodation while your application is assessed.

If you have a home already but it needs to be adapted, the hospital will refer you to the occupational therapy team in your local authority through adult social care. If you meet the qualifying criteria, they should arrange an assessment of your needs. You may qualify for a Disabled Facilities Grant to pay for any adaptations works needed but this will need to be determined by Waltham Forest's Home Improvement Agency.

Help available for older people

Old age does not confer a priority need for accommodation. We will look at all your personal circumstances and take into account information we gather from various sources including any medical professionals involved in your care. Even if we do not have a statutory duty to provide accommodation, we will still actively work with you to try to resolve your housing need.

The Preventions and Assessment Team will try to identify housing problems at the earliest opportunity to hopefully prevent you from becoming homeless. If you are threatened with homelessness, or are homeless, we have a duty to assess the circumstances of your homelessness, identify what your housing and support needs are, and to work with you to try to prevent your homelessness or support you to find you somewhere to live.

We will provide you with a ‘personal housing plan’ which will tell you what we can do to help you and what you can do to help yourself. This might include actions such as attending viewings or private sector or supported housing or engaging with organisations’ that can assist older people.

People over 50 who have housing and support needs can be housed in sheltered housing schemes. The properties are mainly one-bedroom flats, with a small number of two-bedroom flats and studio flats. All homes have an emergency alarm and most have secured phone-entry systems. To apply for sheltered housing please

Older people, who wish to move out of Waltham Forest, may wish to consider the national social mobility scheme. The Seaside and Country Homes offers older tenants of London’s councils and housing associations the opportunity to move away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can find out more by following the link  Seaside and Country Homes scheme.

Care leavers

Once you turn 18 and are ready to consider living independently you may want to apply for Council Housing. Any decision regarding independent living will be made in discussion with your leaving care coach, to ensure it’s in your best interest. As a care leaver you’ll be given priority when bidding for council housing. For more information on support available to Care Leavers visit the Waltham Forest Directory.

Mental illness or impairment

The Prevention and Assessment Team will try to identify housing problems at the earliest opportunity to hopefully prevent you from becoming homeless. We have a duty to assess the circumstances of your homelessness, identify what your housing and support needs are, and to work with you to try to prevent your homelessness or support you to find you somewhere to live.

 We will provide you with a ‘personal housing plan’ which will tell you what we can do to help you and what you can do to help yourself. This might include actions such as attending property viewings in the private sector or engaging with organisations’ that can assist people suffering from mental illness.

Ex-Armed Forces personnel

The Preventions and Assessment Team will try to identify housing problems at the earliest opportunity to hopefully prevent you from becoming homeless. If you are threatened with homelessness, or are homeless, we have a duty to assess the circumstances of your homelessness, identify what your housing and support needs are, and to work with you to try to prevent your homelessness or support you to find you somewhere to live.

We will provide you with a ‘personal housing plan’ which will tell you what we can do to help you and what you can do to help yourself. This might include actions such as attending viewings or private sector or supported housing or engaging with organisations’ that can assist ex-service personnel.

This could include:

  • the Royal British Legion who might be able to help with a rent deposit.
  • SSAFA who provide housing advice to people currently serving in the forces and ex-service personnel and their families. 
  • veterans housing support services like Stoll
  • veterans gateway is a government website designed to be the first point of contact for veterans seeking support

If you become homeless you should also be treated as being vulnerable and therefore in priority need for accommodation if you can show that your vulnerability is as a result of being a former member of the armed forces.

When deciding this, we will consider:

  • how long you were in the forces and what role you had
  • if you spent any time in a military hospital
  • if you were released from service on medical grounds
  • if you have had accommodation since leaving service and if you have been able to obtain or maintain accommodation since you left
  • how long it has been since you left service

Contact Housing Advice Click to get info

Email: housing.advice@walthamforest.gov.uk

Phone: 020 8496 4197

Out-of-hours phone: 020 8496 3000

In person:

Cedar Wood House

2d Fulbourne Road

Walthamstow E17 4GG

Opening hours:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 9am to 4.30pm
  • Wednesday: 1pm to 4.30pm