How to apply as homeless

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:

If the council decides you're homeless, eligible and in priority need it must:

4. What happens next?

The council should come to a decision within 33 working days. It will write to tell you its decision.

If the council accepts that it has a duty to continue housing you, you'll probably have to stay in temporary accommodation until it offers you somewhere more long-term or 'settled'.

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.

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