Temporary Accommodation

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1 Service Standards What you can expect from Welwyn Hatfield Community Housing Trust 15 Temporary Accommodation Working in Partnership with Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council Find us on Facebook and Twitter

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3 Temporary Accommodation We understand that becoming homeless can be a worrying experience and the Temporary Accommodation team can assist you by: 1. Providing good quality temporary accommodation 2. Giving you comprehensive and realistic advice and information 3. Being on-site or regularly visiting the main temporary accommodation sites. Who is temporary accommodation for? Temporary accommodation is allocated to households who have made a homeless application and to whom we believe we have a duty to house under the Housing Act 1996, amended by the Homelessness Act Most households entering temporary accommodation will not know whether the council has a duty to house them in more settled accommodation this will be determined during their stay in temporary accommodation. If we have a duty to house you, you will move from temporary accommodation to settled accommodation, if we do not have a duty to you then you will be required to leave temporary accommodation. The Trust will provide you with advice on finding alternative accommodation yourself.

4 Our temporary accommodation facilities We have two main hostels: Howlands House in Welwyn Garden City These are shared-facilities with individual bedrooms, a shared kitchen and a shared bathroom. Hazel Grove House in Hatfield These are self-contained units but can only be used for smaller households. We also have supported accommodation and some other dispersed units. In some instances it is necessary to use a bed and breakfast which may be out of the area. Bed and breakfast accommodation is only used when it is not appropriate for the applicant to stay in our temporary accommodation units. The Temporary Accommodation team try to match what is available to the requirements of each household in need. We take a range of factors in to consideration when deciding which temporary accommodation facility a household will accommodate such size, type and location. We cannot promise to provide temporary accommodation in a particular area as we have to look at the spaces we have and the needs of all our customers. Furnishings Our accommodation has basic furniture which comprises of a bed, sink in the bedroom, fridge, freezer (Howlands House only), and a cooker. Washing machines are provided in some units and there is a laundry facility either on-site or nearby. In cases of hardship we can provide some second-hand bed-linen, towels, saucepans and crockery. We require residents to sign an inventory when they move in and they may be charged for anything damaged beyond reasonable wear and tear. If residents have their own furniture, they will need to make arrangements to store these items. We may be able to offer you a council garage for this purpose, subject to availability. Rights & Responsibilities Your Licence / Non-Secure Tenancy Agreement outlines your responsibilities to us and ours to you. You must ensure that your account is kept up to date by paying the amount that you are responsible for and ensuring the Housing Benefit team at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council have all the information they need from you. You must also ensure that you abide by the terms of your Licence or Tenancy Agreement. If breaches are made, such as anti-social behaviour, then you could lose your temporary accommodation. Residents staying in temporary accommodation will need to be aware that your lifestyle may be very different to that of your neighbours, shift working and sleeping patterns are two examples of how you and your neighbour s

5 lifestyle can differ. It is essential that residents are tolerant and respectful of their neighbours. Temporary accommodation costs All new residents moving into our temporary accommodation will be issued with a payment card in order to pay their charges. There are three elements to the charges: 1. Rent / licence charges Anyone moving into temporary accommodation can apply for Housing Benefit and their claim will be assessed. Residents are responsible for claiming Housing Benefit and providing all the necessary documentation although help will be offered with this 2. Running costs Charges include; Council Tax (at Howlands House only), facilities including cleaning of external communal areas, staff on site at Howlands House and twice-weekly visits to Hazel Grove House; maintenance of site including grass cutting and window cleaning 3. Utilities Charges are made for gas, electricity and water, these are not covered by Housing Benefit and you will need to pay for this weekly in advance. Council Tax is included in the charges for Howlands House but not for Hazel Grove House or Northfield. How to get help At Howlands House we have an office that is open every weekday morning as well as in the afternoon on Mondays and Wednesdays. Our staff are there to answer questions, give information, book appointments and generally assist you. Temporary accommodation staff make regular visits to Hazel Grove House at least twice a week. We also have a Tenancy Support Officer who can assist with a variety of issues including helping you to maintain your Licence / Tenancy Agreement and to apply for benefits. If you have a query about your homeless application then you need to contact your Housing Options Officer.

6 What you can expect from the Community Housing Trust The Temporary Accommodation team will: Contact you several days before you need temporary accommodation in order to give you time to prepare to move in Take into consideration the residents preferred site, although this cannot be guaranteed Ensure the accommodation will be clean, tidy and ready to move into Ensure the accommodation will have basic furniture including a bed and a fridge Ensure the accommodation will be suitable for the size of your household Arrange a comprehensive sign-up meeting where residents will be given copy of your Licence / Tenancy Agreement and an explanation of the facilities Sign-post residents to the Tenancy Support Officer when required Ensure our staff are easily available onsite, or at the times advertised, to deal with any queries or questions from residents Encourage feedback from residents about their experience of staying in temporary accommodation and take into account any suggestions received Give residents the opportunity to comment on their temporary accommodation. Please note that this is not an appeal process Treat you with respect at all times Respect your confidentiality. Details about how we manage and process personal information is provided to all residents living in temporary accommodation Provide information that is clear and consistent. Customer Satisfaction surveys Customer satisfaction surveys will be undertaken annually to ask our customers for their views on the service and how we can improve it. We will use customer feedback to improve our services and tell our customers about the improvements we have made as a result of their feedback. Monitoring our performance We will work with our customers to review our service standards each year. This is to make sure we are reaching the agreed levels of performance. We will also use the review process to look at how we can improve services for the future. If you would like to be involved in reviewing our service standards please contact our Communications and Customer Services team on or

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8 How to contact us Temporary Accommodation team Telephone: Write to: 51 Bridge Road East, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL7 1JR Your feedback is important to us. We would like to hear from you if: you feel that the Community Housing Trust is not meeting the standards set out in this leaflet you have any questions about our services you wish to make a comment, compliment or complaint about our services. You can give feedback by: contacting the service or team you have been dealing with direct contacting your local Housing Office completing a Comments, Compliments and Complaints form, which is available on our website (www.welhat-cht.org.uk), from our offices, or can be sent to you on request. Access to information We want our customers to be able to access information and services as easily as possible, in ways that suit them. We can provide information in different formats or other help where this is needed. The type of help we can provide includes: Translations into: Different languages Braille Easy Read Large print Audio Accessible pdf documents Telephone interpreting Face-to-face interpreting (including sign language) Please contact your local Housing Office or our Communications and Customer Service team if you need help accessing any information about our services. Approved by NEW CODE HERE Working in Partnership with

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