Emergency housing advice

Find out what to do if you are worried about becoming homeless.

Contact your council

You can apply to the council for help as a homeless person if you don't have anywhere to live. If you're eligible for help, the council has to provide accommodation immediately while it makes enquiries into your situation. 

Local councils have to give advice to people who are homeless or will be homeless soon. All councils should operate a 24-hour service for people in emergency situations and should publish an out-of-hours emergency number. 

Use Gov.uk's local council finder to find your local council's website or use Shelter's directory to find details of your local council's housing department.

Call Shelter's free advice helpline

Phone Shelter's free national helpline on 0808 800 4444 (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 5pm weekends).

The expert advisers can:

  • explain your rights and options
  • tell you what emergency housing is available in your area

Find a local face-to-face adviser

An advice agency can tell you what emergency housing is available in your area and if you can get help from the council.

They may be able to refer you to a hostel or nightshelter.

Use Shelter's advice services directory to find a face-to-face advice agency, such as Citizens Advice, in your area.

Check if you're eligible for free legal advice

For free expert legal guidance call Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345.

You may be able to get help from their legal advisers if you qualify for legal aid. Have information about your income and savings handy so the adviser can tell you if you qualify.

Their advisers can tell you if the council has a duty to house you and can help you challenge a decision made by the council.

Shelter is one of the five providers of telephone advice provided by this helpline.

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