This content applies to England only.
Housing laws vary between England and Scotland. Get advice relating to Scotland
You don't have to be living on the street to be homeless. You may be legally classed as homeless if you are sleeping on a friend's sofa, staying in a hostel, suffering from overcrowding, or other bad conditions.
Homelessness can often be avoided if you act quickly and get the right help. If you have nowhere to stay, call Shelter's helpline or use our directory to find a local advice centre where you can get face-to-face help.
You can still be homeless even if you have a roof over your head. See what homelessness is and what situations could mean you are considered as homeless.
If you are homeless or facing homelessness you have rights, and you may be entitled to help from the council. Find out more about homeless people’s rights
A legal definition of homelessness is used by councils to assess what help homeless people are entitled to. Check the legal definition of homelessness.
Need a place for tonight if you're homeless? Find out about the different types of emergency housing and accommodation available and how to access them.
If you're sleeping rough, Shelter can give you practical advice and information about services and help available. Find out more if you're sleeping rough.
Squatting in a residential property is now a criminal offence, squatting in a commercial property is not. Find out more about squatting and the law.
Even if your housing situation appears hopeless, there may be action you can take to avoid becoming homeless
You may be entitled to help from the housing department of the council if you are homeless or about to lose your home. There are special legal rules about when and how the council must help.
Social services can provide a range of services, including housing, support and financial help. Whether social services has to help you will depend on your circumstances.
This section has information about the housing support you may be entitled to if you are an asylum seeker, a refugee, or are appealing against an unsuccessful asylum claim.
An introduction to the rights you have if you came to the UK from the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA).
Information about the rights that homeless Gypsies and Travellers may have to get help from the council.
Whether you’ll soon be leaving the forces, or it’s been some time since you were discharged, you’ll need to know your rights if you are homeless.
Find out what you can do if you've been asked to leave your home or if you are facing eviction.
Many prisoners find themselves homeless following their time in prison – and single people are particularly at risk. Find out about services that could provide practical support and help you find accommodation. You could also apply to your local council for help as a homeless person.
If you are homeless due to domestic violence or could become homeless because of threats, abuse or intimidation, find out more about your rights and options.
If you are under 25 and homeless, worried about being made homeless or facing eviction we've got advice and information that can help.