Homeless or at risk of being homeless

Armed forces and veterans

If you have served or are currently serving in the UK's Army, Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Air Force or in the Reserve forces and are threatened with or are actually homeless, this page explains where you can find help and support.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) offers help and advice with resettlement through the Joint Service Housing Advice Office and through Veterans UK.  Veterans UK is an excellent source of information and help about housing opportunities for most people leaving the armed services.

The MoD can also exercise its Duty to Refer you to a local authority of your choice for help.  The council's Duty to Refer page explains what the MoD should do to assist you. 

People serving in the UK's regular naval, military and air forces are usually provided with accommodation by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) but must leave this when they are discharged from the forces.  The MoD should issue people in this situation with a Certificate of Cession of Entitlement to Occupy Service Accommodation and this should be issued six months before the discharge date.  The certificate will confirm to the council's satisfaction that the accommodation you had is no longer available for you to occupy.

You, together with your family if you have one, can approach the local council where your service accommodation is located for help because you are homeless.  If you have a local connection with Watford, say through close family links, you can ask Watford Borough Council to help you.  To do so you complete our Housing Advice Form here first.

Preventing your homelessness

Where there are still up to 56 days before you have to leave the services accommodation or other accommodation you currently occupy, the council has a duty to prevent you from becoming homeless.  It will take action to prevent you becoming homeless by working with you to find an alternative place to live by putting in place a personal housing plan which contains actions we both agree on that you and the council will take to help you find another home. 

Relieving your homelessness

If it has not been possible to find an alternative place to live before you have to leave the services or other accommodation, the council has a duty to relieve your homelessness (the relief duty) by providing you with temporary accommodation if you are in priority need for assistance (see below).  A further 56 days will then be spent continuing to work with you through the personal housing plan on finding another settled place to live. 

What does priority need for assistance mean?

If you are homeless, you will have a priority need for assistance if you or someone who normally lives with you includes one or more of the following factors:

  • is expecting a baby
  • is under 16, or under 19 and still in full-time education
  • is vulnerable because of spending a long time in the armed forces or were medically discharged

Main duty or discharge

If after the relief duty period has ended and it has not been possible to find a settled place to stay, the council will decide either:

  • it has a duty to house you and will carry on providing temporary accommodation until a settled home is eventually found or
  • it does not have a duty to house you because it believes you are intentionally homeless and will discharge its duty to help you and ask you to leave the temporary accommodation.  Being intentionally homeless means you did or did not do something which led you to losing your home.  An example is that you did not pay your rent when you could afford to do so.  

You have the right to review any decision the council takes about your homelessness application.

For an understanding of how all local authorities deal with enquiries from people who are threatened with or are actually homelessness under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, see Shelter's advice.

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