Hastings Advice Centre

BHT’s Hastings Advice Centre provides the following services in Hastings & Rother:

Specialist Housing Advice

Court Duty Scheme
Offering emergency advice at court for people facing eviction

Macmillan Welfare Benefits Advice Service
For people affected by cancer and their families.

Hastings Housing Access Project

Specialist Housing Advice

Hastings Advice CentreBHT Hastings Advice’s specialist housing advice team are able to provide free and confidential advice to people who are homeless or at risk of losing their home, suffering harassment by their landlord or living with serious disrepair.

We will listen to you to understand your current situation and wherever possible, will help you to find a solution.

We have specialist housing advisors and a housing solicitor who are very experienced in offering advice to help you resolve your problems. If needed, we can arrange an appointment with you where you can discuss your circumstances in more detail.

This service is available to residents in Hastings & Rother but you must be eligible for Legal Aid. To be eligible for Legal Aid you need to have a low income and savings.

You can check whether you are eligible by using the Government’s Eligibility Checker.

If you have mortgage arrears and you are facing eviction we may be able to help you but you will need to contact the Community Legal Advice telephone gateway on 0845 3454345 first or you can click here to contact the Community Legal Advice service online.

We will not be able to help you if you have mortgage arrears unless you have been referred to us by the Community Legal Advice telephone gateway.

How to contact the service
By telephone

03444 111444

A short assessment will be undertaken by a staff member from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

If appropriate they will make an appointment for you with a BHT specialist Housing Advisor.

01424 721458

For professionals wishing to contact BHT Hastings Advice.

Please note no assessment or appointments will be made using this number.

By email

Please click here to email the specialist housing advice team

Reception

We share a reception with the Advice & Community Hub which is open at the following times:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9.30am4pm

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.30am to 12.45pm

We will undertake a short assessment and if appropriate will make an appointment for you with a Housing Advisor.

Write to us

BHT Hastings Advice

Advice & Community Hub

Renaissance House

London Road

St Leonards on Sea

TN37 6AN

Court Duty Scheme

hastings county courtThe Court Duty Scheme provides last-minute emergency advice for people facing eviction who have an initial court possession hearing.

A specialist Housing Advisor from BHT attends the County Court in Hastings when repossession cases are being heard.

However, we would strongly recommend you contact BHT Hastings Advice as soon as you are given notice of possession by your landlord or mortgage company

This service is available to all tenants or mortgage-holders facing eviction or repossession who have a hearing listed on that day. Our Housing Adviser might be very busy on the day, so you need to arrive at court about an hour before your hearing is listed.

When you arrive, ask at the court for the BHT Housing Advisor.

Macmillan Welfare Benefits Advice Service

macmillan logoThe Macmillan Welfare Benefits Advice Service provides free and confidential welfare benefits advice for people living with cancer, their families and carers.

The service is available across East Sussex. Many people find a cancer diagnosis can bring money worries, with costs they hadn’t considered. Our Macmillan Benefits Adviser can offer specialist advice to help ease these concerns, with information on benefits and tax credits.

They will work out what financial help you could be entitled to and assist you to claim any benefits or tax credits. This service is run by a partnership between BHT and Money Advice Plus Services and funded by Macmillan.

How to contact the service
By telephone

To speak to a Macmillan Benefits Advisor please call:

01323 635989

By email

Please click here to email the Macmillan Welfare Benefits Advice Service

Write to us

Macmillan Welfare benefits Service

c/o MAPS

2nd Floor

182-184 Terminus Road

Eastbourne

BN21 3BB

Please note that this office does not receive personal callers and is for post only.

Hastings Housing Access Project

Big Lottery Hastings HAP logos

BHT’s Hastings Housing Access Project provides advice, support and training to people who need to access accommodation in the private rented sector.

We run training workshops which cover the knowledge, skills and requirements needed in order to find and maintain a tenancy in the private rented sector.

The workshops include:

  • preparing to take on a tenancy
  • finding a home
  • maintaining a tenancy
  • settling in to your new home

BHT’s Hastings Housing Access Project runs regular advice and guidance drop-ins for people as they seek accommodation.

The project also provides ongoing support whilst clients settle into their tenancies. We also offer one-to-one sessions for people who are not quite ready to attend the workshops. Accommodation seekers can be additionally supported by peer volunteers.

How to contact the service
By telephone

01424 452611

By email

Please click here to email BHT’s Hastings Housing Access Project

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Richardson’s Yard Interviews – Phoenix

Can you start off by telling me how you have found the last six months since moving into Richardson’s Yard?

Yes, its been really good, its was quite challenging to adjust to to start with. When we first moved in, the furniture was still being put together.

The space is so unique that it was a bit difficult to try and figure out where the bedroom would go etc. I have settled in really well now. It has been a bit cold, because I guess, at the end of the day, I am living in a 40 ft. square box and it can be a bit cold. We have had some problems with the heating and so I have bought a new heater with a timer. It’s also taken some time to get used to the electricity because it was running out really quickly. Its just lots of tweaks and adjustments. But living up in the 5th floor is amazing, the light comes through so that heats this flat up really well. Everyone is really friendly here, we don’t talk as much as we probably should but we have that neighbourhood thing where everyone says hello. I think there were some problems at the start where people were having parties but yeah, it has gone really well.

Did you have any reservations about moving into Richardson’s Yard?

I was a little concerned but also excited.

I was concerned because it seemed to be taking a long time to get them finished and the moving date was moved. I was wondering what I was coming into. I knew fairly early on that I would be living on the top floor and that was great because I don’t think I would want to be any further down. I like being up high and having the quiet. I knew we would get a lot of interest from the press and I had some reservations about the slant that the media used that Richardson’s Yard was a place for the homeless. It seemed to have a negative slant and it seemed that local residents were a bit adverse to it. But now it seems to be the complete opposite and people are really positive about it, it’s been a really good experience.

Where were you living before Richardson’s Yard?

I was in a private housing association in Kemptown which was interesting and challenging in its own way because the people you live with came with problems of their own.

I was there for 10 months. There were support workers on hand to help us. It’s nice now to have my own space because in the old place we shared a kitchen and a bathroom which I found difficult.

You can stay at Richardson’s Yard for up to two years. Its early days but do you have plans for life after Richardson’s Yard?

The ultimate plan is to save a deposit and a months rent so that I can move into my own place. The centre of Brighton is too expensive so I plan to move to the fringes of town.

Because I work, the rent here is more expensive than I anticipated and I am finding it quite hard to budget but it’s good to have the two years here so I don’t feel like I have to panic. As long as I am putting away little bits then I will be fine.

Since you have been here, has Richardson’s Yard made a difference to your life?

Yes, I think having my own space has been amazing.

I have suffered with generalised anxiety for most of my life and I get very nervous in situations and I think being here and having my own space and having the sun beaming through my windows has really helped to relieve the tension and the stress which has branched out into other areas of my life like my work life and my relationship with my mum. Its like a ripple effect, this has been the pebble and the ripples have come into other areas of my life.

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Richardson’s Yard Interviews – Tristan

How have you found the last six months since moving into Richardson’s Yard?

It’s been really good.

It’s been nice being able to pick herbs from out of the front and put it in your cooking in the evening. I have met some nice people; I had my neighbour over for dinner last night. The location is great and you can get to everywhere easily. Town is just a short walk away and the train station. The space is really big and I can have my daughter in here and even if it is lashing down with rain she can tear around and its not too noisy. I like it.

Before you came to Richardson’s Yard did you have any reservations?

I thought it would be more community spirited than it is, I thought it would happen naturally but actually I think you have to make it happen.

Everyone says hello to each other but I thought people would help each other out more and be more thoughtful. I hoped there would be book clubs and things like that but I think this will happen in time. I think a lot of people are getting into the gardening idea that is happening here and hopefully that will bring people together more.

Where were you before Richardson’s yard?

I lived in Hove with a landlord and I assumed I had the same rights as a tenant but it turns out that because I lived with the landlord as a lodger I had less rights and I could be evicted without any notice or reason.

I went to Brighton Housing Trust about it and they said I had no rights but they had places available here at Richardson’s Yard. I stayed with a friend for a few months while I attended their (BHT) workshops and built up my portfolio and then managed to secure a place here.

You can stay here for up to two years but you said that you weren’t planning to stay for that long. What are your plans?

The flat is lovely and it is a lot better than staying on someone’s sofa.

You aren’t encroaching on anybody and you have all the essentials you need to get by such as a bed and a sink, central heating and a fridge but it’s not a home. You couldn’t turn this into a home where you could have lots of friends over, there isn’t enough space and you only have one worktop for draining and cooking and prep. It’s a great idea because you don’t want people to stay for too long. It’s a short term solution and its great for that. I will use this and get the best out of it but it also gives me a reason to plan my next move. I want to move into a housing coop where the rent is cheap and everyone works together as a community.

Do you think living at Richardson’s Yard has helped you in anyway?

I have never lived on my own since leaving my parents home before so that has been quite an experience.

I have always been quite sociable and lived in shared houses. Living on your own has been quite isolating but that is good in its own way. It has encouraged me to meet my neighbours. Living at Richardson’s Yard has been a really great experience, I have really enjoyed it.

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Richardson’s Yard Interviews – Alan

How have you found the last four months at Richardson’s Yard?

Brilliant but also a bit weird.

I have come from supported housing so the things that I enjoy such as living independently are also a bit weird because I am used to lots of people being around and it’s hard to adjust to being on my own, that’s the strange part of being here. I am used to having seven or eight people around, sort of barging in and making a nuisance of themselves which I had got used to but now I don’t I really like it and I am enjoying the space but it is strange. So far it’s brilliant, touch wood!

Before you moved in did you have any reservations about living at Richardson’s Yard?

Yes definitely. I hated the idea if living in a shipping container.

As soon as the idea was mentioned to me and there was the possibility of me being put forward to live here I thought there is no way you are putting me in a box and it took ages to come around to the idea. I don’t think it was until the second workshop that Steve Coulson ran that I started to think hang on a minute, this is pretty good. I started to look at the plans and on the internet at projects in Holland and my enthusiasm really grew.

You can stay her for up to two years, do you have any plans for what you will do after Richardson’s Yard?

I am going to reapply for the council and hopefully get a band B.

In the mean time I am playing off my debts and saving for private accommodation in case I can’t get housed by the council.

Has being at Richardson’s Yard helped you with your plans for the future?

Yes. Anyone who has been homeless or in supported housing or hostels knows that you just want your own space.

Often people in this position aren’t actually ready for their own space and I wasn’t, but at the time it is all you want. When they said it would be a two year stop gap period I wasn’t that keen but having thought about it, it’s actually a good opportunity to get myself sorted and to pay my debts off. I can save up, I can start living properly without all this weight on my shoulders. Hopefully, once I have saved enough, I will have a year to find somewhere new to live.

Has your life improved since being at Richardson’s Yard?

I have depression and post traumatic distress disorder and I realise they really need sorting out.

I was drinking heavily before I came here and I have stopped that now but living on your own, sitting with my own thoughts without any distractions can be challenging so on a personal level I realise I need help in those areas. On a housing level everything is OK, everything is pretty cool.

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