Find out how to apply as homeless to the council if you're homeless or about to lose your home.
1. Apply as homeless
If you're legally homeless or are going to be within the next 28 days, contact your local council and tell it you need to apply as homeless.
The council must help you if you're homeless or soon will be. How much help you get depends on your circumstances.
It will make an appointment for you to be interviewed by a housing officer. This should be the same day if you have nowhere to stay that night.
2. Go to your interview
You need to take the right documents to your interview. You may be dealt with quicker if you bring proof of identity and the reason you have to leave your home (for example: notice of eviction).
During your interview the housing officer should explain the application process clearly to you. They'll also ask questions about your situation and how you became homeless.
They may make a decision immediately or they may take longer to carry out a full assessment.
3. How the council decides
The help you get will depend on whether the council decides that you:
- are homeless
- are eligible – as a UK citizen or someone who has the right to live in the UK
- are in priority need – for example if you have children, are elderly or disabled
- became homeless through no fault of your own
- have a connection to the area – otherwise it may try to send you elsewhere to be housed
If the council decides you're homeless, eligible and in priority need it must:
- offer you emergency accommodation while your application is being looked at
- protect your personal property if you're unable to do so yourself
4. What happens next?
The council should come to a decision within 33 working days. It will write to tell you its decision.
The council may not accept your application. Find out what you can do if the council won't help you.
The council may accept your application but make a decision you disagree with. If you don't agree with the council's decision you can ask for it to be reviewed.
For expert advice on your homeless application call Shelter's free helpline on 0808 800 4444.