Housing options and homelessness
On 3 April 2018 the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) came into effect and changed the way that we deal with any eligible person who is at risk of homelessness.
The housing situation in Ealing
Like many other parts of London, Ealing is facing a severe shortage of housing which is affordable for people on low or moderate incomes.
Council and housing association accommodation is only available to those in the greatest need and even then, it often takes years of waiting before a property becomes available.
This means that the only realistic option for most people who cannot afford to buy their own home is to rent privately. But private rents in Ealing are also very high and, in most cases, much higher than the government will subsidise through universal credit or housing benefit.
This means that for most people who already have somewhere to live and cannot afford to move, the best answer is usually to try to keep your home, even if it is not ideal, providing it is safe for you to stay there.
There are a number of options you can explore if you are worried about losing your home and at risk of becoming homeless.
If you need our help, please come to see us well in advance of becoming homeless.
If you need our help to try to prevent homelessness, then please come to see Ealing Council’s housing solutions team as soon as possible.
If you are at risk of homelessness within eight weeks and are eligible for assistance, then we will work with you to develop a written personal housing plan to attempt to prevent you from becoming homeless. This will set out what you will do and what the council will do to help you keep your home. If it is impossible or unsafe to keep your existing home, then we will work with you to try to find alternative accommodation.
This is much more likely to be successful if you come to see us well in advance of losing your home.
If you are already homeless when you approach us for help or if we do not manage to work together successfully to prevent you becoming homeless, then, depending on your circumstances, we may have a legal duty to provide temporary accommodation. This will usually be if you have dependent children living with you or have needs or issues which make you very vulnerable as a single person.
Otherwise we will not be obliged to provide accommodation, and in most cases will not be able to do so.
Even if we do provide temporary accommodation to accommodate you in an emergency, you will be required to take the first suitable accommodation we can find for you, which may not be where you would choose to live and may not be in Ealing.
In most cases, a stay in temporary accommodation will be followed later by an offer of private rented accommodation. This can sometimes take years, and again you will be required to take the first suitable offer of accommodation we make.
For these reasons, it is much better if you come to the council early and work with us to keep your existing home or if necessary, to find private rented accommodation which you can afford where you have some choice about which accommodation to take.
It is important to be realistic about the type of accommodation and the location which you can afford.