People suffering from a mental illness
This information is to assist people living with a mental illness with the housing options available to them.
Council and housing association homes
Council and housing association homes are also known as ‘social housing’ and are usually cheaper than renting privately. If you are interested in renting a council or housing association property you must firstly register with West Cheshire Homes to find out if you are eligible. You can register online via the West Cheshire Homes website.
Once you are registered West Cheshire Homes will notify you if you have been accepted and what band you are in. The greater your housing need, the higher band you will be awarded.
You can look for private rented housing through estate agents, letting agencies or by searching online. If you are renting you may need to pay a deposit of one month’s rent. The Council offers a Bond Scheme to assist people who wish to rent privately. For further information contact the Housing Options team.
Buying your own home
If you are buying a property there are government schemes that could help you buy your own market value home or a discounted sale property..
You may be able to apply for shared ownership if you can't afford to buy the whole property and could instead own 25%, 50% or 75% through this scheme. You will pay rent on the remaining amount. You may be able to get housing benefit (HB) for the part of the property that you rent. You may be able to get support for mortgage interest (SMI) on the part of the property that you own.
Discounted sale affordable homes are available at a reduced price of the full market value for specific eligible households who are unable to afford to purchase a market value property. For example, a £100,000 house with a 25% discount would be offered to eligible applicants for £75,000. This is not a shared ownership scheme and even though there is a discount on the sale price, the purchaser still owns 100% of the property and no additional rent is due. Refer to the Council’s web pages on Low Cost Home Ownership for further information on eligibility criteria and details of properties currently.
Right to buy
If you already live in a council property you may be able to buy your property. This is called the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme. For further information visit the Right to Buy page on the Gov.UK website.
Right to acquire
If you already live in a housing association property you may be able to buy your property. This is called ‘right to acquire’ scheme. For further information visit the Right to Acquire page on the Gov.UK website.
You can swap your home with someone else who wants to move. This is often called, ‘mutual exchange’. You can register to swap your property online. For further information visit the Home Swap page on the Gov.UK website.
Supported housing may be an option if you need some support but also want some independence. It can mean that you get support in your home which is called ‘floating support’ or that you live in a supported housing scheme to get the level of support that you need.
Supported housing services offer low, medium and high levels of support and may have a time limit on how long you can stay there. Often accommodation is self-contained but you may share communal areas such the lounge, utilities and garden. You can live independently, but there should be 24 hour emergency help available if you need it. To apply for supported housing contact Forfutures on 0300 123 2442 (option three).
You may be able to get supported housing by asking for a social care assessment from Adult Social Care. This is called a ‘needs assessment'. If you have a care coordinator, speak to them about your housing needs. Your housing needs should be considered under the ‘care programme approach’ (CPA). CPA is a package of care that is given to people who have complex mental health care needs.
Living with family
Many people live in the family home because of the high cost of housing. You may value the support of having family around you if you have a mental illness. If you need more support than your family can give, you may be able to get extra support through your community mental health team or Adult Social Care. You will need to contact them and ask for a ‘needs assessment.’
Your family and carers can have their carer’s needs assessed by Adult Social Care. This is called a ‘carer’s assessment.’ The carer’s assessment should look at the care that they give to you and find out what support your carer needs.
For further information visit the Adult Social Care factsheets page on this website.
If you are threatened with homelessness within 56 days, you can make an application for assistance to the council under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.
The council has a duty to assess your case and agree a personalised plan with you and provide assistance to try and prevent your homelessness.
If you are actually homeless the council will help you find alternative accommodation or may offer you temporary accommodation if you have an apparent priority need. You may be in priority need because you have a mental illness. The council will also need to establish if you are eligible (have a right to stay indefinitely in the UK), not intentionally homeless, and whether you have a local connection. If you do not have a local connection you may be referred back to another local authority where you do. Contact Housing Options for further advice on homelessness.
Paying for housing
Arranging to pay for housing is as important as finding somewhere suitable to live. You may be able to get help towards housing costs if you are on a low income or unable to work. Below are some options for how you can fund your home.
Housing benefit is a benefit to help people on income related benefits or a low income to pay rent. For more information on housing benefit visit the Housing Benefit and Council Tax web pages on this website.
Universal Credit housing costs
Universal Credit can help with the costs of rented or owned accommodation. For further information on Universal Credit visit the Universal Credit pages on this website.
Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)
SMI is help to pay the interest on your mortgage. You may be able to claim SMI is if you live in a mortgaged property and claim benefits. For more information on SMI, visit the Support for Mortgage web pages on the Gov.UK website.
Where to get advice and support
If you would like advice about your housing situation or options you could speak to the following organisations.
Our accommodation finder self help pack can be used by anyone trying to find accommodation in the Cheshire West and Chester area. You can increase your chances of finding something suitable by considering the full range of housing options available to you as well as knowing what you can afford.