Emergency housing from the council

What happens next

The council will look into your situation.

As soon as they have confirmed that you're homeless and meet the immigration conditions they should carry out an assessment and draw up a personal housing plan.

You get help to find somewhere to live under your personal housing plan.

If you have not found anywhere suitable after 8 weeks, the council will:

  • decide if you qualify for the 'main housing duty'

  • write to you with their decision

The main housing duty means the council must provide longer term housing for you.

How long you stay in emergency housing 

You can usually stay in emergency housing until the council makes a decision.

This usually takes at least 2 months.

You might have to move during this time. For example, if you're offered a B&B in an emergency but something more suitable becomes available. 

If you do not stay in the accommodation 

The council or accommodation provider might cancel the booking and you might not get another offer of emergency housing. 

Tell the council or accommodation provider if you need to be away overnight.

If you break the rules in the accommodation

You could be asked to leave at short notice if you break any rules at the accommodation. For example, regarding visitors, smoking or shared areas. 

If you're asked to leave emergency housing, the council may not have to offer anything else until they have reached a a decision on your homeless application. 

If you qualify for the main housing duty

The council must find you somewhere suitable to live. 

You may have to move from the emergency housing into more suitable temporary housing before you get a final offer of longer term housing.

Find out about final offers of longer term housing.

If the council decide you do not qualify

The letter must explain why. For example, it may say that you're: 

You should ask for a review of the council's decision within 3 weeks if you think it's wrong. You can usually get free legal help with this. 

Ask the council to continue to provide emergency housing during the review. 

If you're in priority need but the council decides you're intentionally homeless, they must continue to provide emergency housing for a reasonable period, usually a few weeks.

Last updated: 23 November 2021

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

Get help