Other help and support
Overview of the homelessness legislation provides a summary of:
of housing authorities and other services for people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.
Support for renters
Renters going through the court process for eviction can access the Rental Mediation Service. This is a new pilot scheme introduced as part of the current court process for housing possession cases. Mediation:
- is free for all landlords and tenants
- helps resolve cases without the need for a face-to-face court hearing.
As announced on 12 May 2021:
- notice periods, previously extended to six months as an emergency measure during the pandemic, are now set at four months
- restrictions on bailiff enforcement have now been lifted
- bailiffs have been asked not to carry out an eviction if anyone living in the property has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.
Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government encourages:
- parties to explore mediation wherever possible
- councils are encouraged to share this information with their local communities.
More information is available on the government's website.
Local advice services
BHT Hastings Advice can give advice on possession action, homelessness and disrepair.
Citizens Advice can help you resolve issues concerning, debt, benefits, employment, housing, immigration, relationships, utilities and other related problems. They can also provide a Money Advice service:
Money Advice provide a higher-quality debt advice service. It aims to make sure people get the help they need to:
- deal with their creditors
- reduce their debt
- tackle problem debts.
They can also help with:
- checking people are getting all the benefits they are entitled to
- explaining which debts must be paid first and the implications of not making these payments
- working out a plan for dealing with debts
- negotiating with creditors or empowering people to do this them self
- Preparing budgets for the future
- Getting back control of your money and your life.
You can contact the Money Advice service:
- Telephone: 01424 721386
Hastings Advice & Representation Centre (HARC) can provide you with information and representation on your welfare benefits and tax credits.
The Sussex Safe Space provides a valuable directory of help and support for all agencies, near you. There are many different types of crime such as domestic abuse, fraud, hate crime, child sexual exploitation and so on. There is help and available for everyone who has ever been a victim of crime and support can be tailored to suit your needs.
Credit Unions are local community loans and savings organisations or financial cooperatives that can be used by its members. They are often described as an alternative to major high street or online banks or payday loan businesses.
Crisis can provide specialist advice and support if you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Money Advice Service can provide free online impartial money and debt advice.
- specialist advice and support on housing issues
- information on your rights
if you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Loan sharks and borrowing money
Stop Loan Sharks team are there to help you if you think that you have been borrowing money from a loan shark. They are the only government agency in the UK who have the power to investigate and prosecute loan sharks and illegal money lenders.
You are not in trouble if you have borrowed cash or have been paying back a loan from an illegal money lender, the loan shark is. They are the people committing a crime, not you.
If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions you might be borrowing from a loan shark:
- Did they offer you a cash loan?
- Did they not give you paperwork?
- Did they add huge amounts of interest or APR to your loan?
- Have they threatened you?
- Are you scared of people finding out?
- Have they taken your bank card, benefit card, passport, watch or other valuables from you?
Stay safe, borrow responsibly and start saving for next Christmas:
- Remember: loan sharks should be avoided because they will make a difficult financial situation much worse.
- If you need to borrow money, check the lender is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
- There are legitimate services you can access for help with money, such as credit unions, which offer safe saving and affordable loans options. Find your nearest Credit Union.
- Start preparing your finances for next Christmas and open a savings account with your local credit union.
- For advice on all money matters, including debt and loans, ring Citizens Advice on 03444 111 444.
For people aged 60+
STEPS provides specialist support for people aged 60+. The services offer short term support to help people stay living independently if they need advice and support to:
- look into more suitable accommodation
- deal with tenancy and mortgage worries
- keep warm and reduce energy bills
- ensure their home is safe
- manage household bills and debts
- obtain daily living equipment.
The service also offers advice and support where someone is:
- at risk of loosing their home for reasons such as domestic abuse, relationship breakdowns or health issues
- already homeless or living in a B&B or hostel
- living in poor quality or unsuitable accommodation.
- Telephone: 0300 123 2422
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Every Mind Matters has now released expert advice and top tips on how to look after your mental wellbeing if you need to stay at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It also includes guidance if you are feeling worried or anxious about the outbreak.
If you, or someone you know, feels that they are:
- struggling to cope
- do not feel in control of their situation
go to NHS Dealing with a mental health crisis or emergency. You will find information, support and guidance about mental health issues.
You can call NHS 111 if you, or someone you know, needs urgent care but it's not life threatening.
- if you have an existing mental health problem and your symptoms get worse
- if you experience a mental health problem for the first time
- if someone has self-harmed but it does not appear to be life threatening, or they're talking about wanting to self-harm.
- if a person shows signs of possible dementia
- if a person is experiencing domestic violence or physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
Sussex Mental Healthline - Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has expanded the Sussex Mental Healthline to provide a 24/7 service for people needing urgent help with their mental health.
- Telephone: 0300 5000 101 (24/7 service)
There are a number of other agencies who provide mental health support service for people living in East Sussex.
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) provides a helpline and web chat from 5pm to midnight if you have been affected by homelessness and are struggling with your mental health.
East Sussex Community Information Service (ESCIS) provides information on local services.
Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
Southdown Mental Health Recovery Services supports people to get well, stay well and prevent crisis, they provide a range of mental health services across Sussex.
Staying Well Space (Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea) is a safe space providing evening and weekend mental health support. You can get help and advice from their team of Recovery Workers & Peer Supporters.
- Email: StayingWell@southdown.org
- Telephone: 07384 467 593 (Monday to Friday 6.30pm to 10.30pm, Saturday and Sunday 4.00pm to 10.30pm)
Cuckooing is when a criminal gang targets the homes of vulnerable people so that they can use the properties for drug dealing.
It means the criminals can operate from a property rather than the street, which is out of sight from the police making it an attractive option. The criminals can then use the premises to deal drugs from, which is difficult for the police to monitor.
Signs to look out for:
- it usually takes place in a multi-occupancy or social housing
- there may be an increase in the number of people visiting the home
- criminals will often have new vehicles outside the home or hire cars
- possible increase in anti-social behaviour in and around the home
- victims may disengage with support services
- professionals visiting may become aware of strangers in their customer's home.
Victims of cuckooing require support for the abuse they have suffered.
If you are being or you know anyone that you think is being cuckooed, you can contact Sussex Police:
If you don't want to speak to the police directly, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Always dial 999 in an emergency.
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