Local connection

How your local connection or links with an area affect who helps you with housing if you apply as homeless.

Overview

If you're homeless or at risk of losing your home, you can ask any council for help. The council you approach first must accept your application and arrange emergency accommodation if you qualify. 

The council will make enquiries into your situation and decide if you have a local connection with its area. 

You may have a local connection with a local council area because you:

  • live there now or have done in the recent past
  • work there
  • have close family in the area

It is possible to have a local connection with more than one area. 

In some situations you can be referred to a different council for help with longer term housing.

Local connection is one of 5 conditions for longer-term housing.

How you qualify for a local connection

Living in an area

You have a local connection if you've lived in a council area for at least:

  • 6 out of the last 12 months
  • 3 out of the last 5 years

Time spent in emergency accommodation provided by the council counts towards a local connection with its area.

Stays in prison or hospital don't count.

If you stayed in asylum support accommodation before being granted refugee status or humanitarian protection, you have a local connection to the last council area you were housed in by the Home Office. It doesn't matter how long you lived there for. 

Working in an area

You have a local connection if you're working or self-employed in a council area.

Close family in the area

You have a local connection if any of your following family members have lived in a council area for at least 5 years:

  • parents
  • adult children
  • brothers and sisters

The council might accept a local connection based on other family members. For example, if you were brought up by another relative and remain in close contact.

Special reasons

The council could decide you have a local connection for a special reason.

For example if you:

  • need to live in the area to receive specialist health care
  • have important social connections with the area

When you can be referred to a different council

You could be referred to another council for help with longer-term housing if the council you apply to as homeless decides you:

You can't be referred to another council if you:

  • don't have a local connection anywhere
  • have a local connection with the area where you applied as homeless
  • would be at risk of domestic abuse or other violence in that area

If the council says you have no local connection

Get advice if the council says it can't help because you don't have a local connection.

The council must give you a written decision including reasons if it decides to refer you to another council.

You can ask the council to review the decision within 21 days of getting your letter.

A housing adviser could help you with a review.

Check if you qualify for legal aid

You may qualify for free or reduced cost legal help if you're on a low income and have been refused homelessness help.

Check if you qualify for legal aid

Contact Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345


Last updated - 31 Aug 2017

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help

Get help

Tell us what you think of this page

Email a link to this article

Thank you - your message has been sent.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.

Please contact #########

Was this advice helpful?

Thank you - your feedback has been submitted to the team.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.

Please contact website@shelter.org.uk