Get help from the council

Who the council must help

The council must help if you're homeless or facing homelessness in the next 8 weeks.

This includes when you have a valid section 21 notice that ends in the next 8 weeks.

You can be homeless even if you have somewhere to stay if it's not safe or reasonable for you to live there. For example, if you're experiencing domestic abuse.

Find out when you count as:

How the council must help

When you ask the council for help, you are making a homeless application.

The council must look into your situation to decide how they have to help.

How much help you get depends on your situation. Some people qualify for emergency housing while the council looks into things.

The council's homeless team only has to give general advice and information if you don't meet the immigration conditions.

Who qualifies for emergency housing

Anyone can ask for homeless help but not everyone qualifies for emergency housing.

The council must provide emergency housing if they think all of the following might apply:

  1. You have nowhere safe to stay

  2. You have children, are pregnant, are homeless because of domestic abuse, or have another type of priority need

  3. You meet the immigration conditions

Contact a Shelter adviser if the council have already refused to provide emergency housing and you think you should qualify.

Help under a personal housing plan

The council must assess your situation and give you a personal housing plan.

The aim of the plan is to help you keep your home or find somewhere else to live.

The council usually works with you for:

  • up to 8 weeks if you're facing homelessness

  • a further 8 weeks if you become homeless

The council must continue to help if you've had a section 21 notice and are still facing eviction when the notice period ends.

If you're still homeless after 8 weeks

If you're still homeless after 8 weeks of help under a personal housing plan, the council will decide if you qualify for the main housing duty.

The main housing duty means the council must provide suitable housing for you. This could be a council, housing association or private tenancy.

You have to meet 5 conditions to qualify for the main housing duty.

If you qualify, you may have to stay in temporary housing while you wait for an offer of longer term housing.

Last updated: 5 July 2021

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