This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at www.shelter.org.uk

Homelessness applications

This content applies to England

The criteria considered in homelessness applications (ie eligibility, homelessness, priority need, intentionality and local connection), the duties of local authorities, and how to challenge decisions.

Overview of homelessness law and guidance

An overview of the law relating to homelessness under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996, including changes brought about by the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. 

Information and advice on homelessness

Every local authority in England must make sure that advice and information about homelessness and its prevention is available to anybody in its district. 

Applying as homeless

The process of applying as homeless, including making an application to more than one authority, and making a repeat application. 

Homelessness inquiries

An explanation of local authority duties to carry out inquiries in response to a homelessness application. 

Assessments and personalised housing plans

Duty to assess an applicant's needs and draw up a personalised housing plan. 

Defining homelessness

The legal definition of homelessness and threatened homelessness, as contained in the Housing Act 1996. It also covers in brief local authority duties that may arise towards someone who is legally homeless. 

Eligibility: non-EEA/EU nationals

Eligibility to homelessness assistance for 'persons subject to immigration control' who are not British citizens and not European Economic Area (EEA) or European Union (EU) nationals. 

Eligibility: EEA/EU nationals and British nationals

Eligibility to homelessness assistance for European Economic Area (EEA) and European Union (EU) nationals and their family members. The section also outlines the habitual residence test which can impact on the eligibility for assistance of British nationals who come to the UK after having lived abroad. 

Priority need

The definition of priority need, as contained in Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996. 

Intentional homelessness

A look at the definition of intentional homelessness contained in sections 191 and 196 of the Housing Act 1996. 

Local connection

The criteria for establishing whether a person has a local connection with a local authority. 

Homelessness duties

The duties owed by local authorities to people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness, including the duty to devise a personalised housing plan, to prevent or relieve homelessness, and to provide accommodation in some circumstances. Also the duty to protect property and to cooperate with other agencies. 

Offers and suitability of accommodation

The factors that must be considered in deciding whether an offer of accommodation is suitable. Different types of offer. 

Ending duties

How a local authority can end its duties to a homeless applicant. 

Referral to another local authority

Information about the situations in which a homelessness applicant can be referred to another local authority. 

Challenging homelessness decisions

The various ways of challenging local authority homelessness decisions. 

Homelessness strategies

A local authority's duties to carry out a homelessness review and publish a homelessness strategy. 

Homelessness in Wales

The law relating to homelessness applications made to local authorities in Wales on or after 27 April 2015. 

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