Homeless: get help from your council

  1. Overview
  2. Who qualifies
  3. How to apply
  4. Challenge the council’s decision
  5. Help if the council won’t house you


How to apply

1. Contact your council

Contact your local council and tell it you need to apply as homeless.

It's best to go to the office as soon as it opens. You may need to wait to be seen.

They'll make an appointment for a housing officer to interview you. This should be the same day if you have nowhere to stay that night.

2. Go to your interview with the council

Take the right documents with you to your interview. It will speed up your application if you take proof of:

  • identity (for example, passport or ID card)
  • why you have to leave your home (for example, eviction notice)

If possible, also take proof of:

  • income (for example, bank statements, wage slips, proof of benefits)
  • children (for example, child benefit or tax credit letter and birth certificates)
  • pregnancy (a letter from your doctor or midwife)
  • medical conditions (a letter from your doctor or hospital)
  • immigration status (a passport or other document that shows you have the right to live in the UK)

It's important to tell the council about anything that makes it hard for you to deal with being homeless.

It can help to take someone with you for support and to take notes.

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.

3. Find out if you'll get housing

The council will assess your application to work out how much help you can get. This depends on your circumstances – find out more about who qualifies for housing.

If you have nowhere to live and the council thinks you are likely to qualify for help, you usually have to stay in emergency housing. This lasts until the council decides if you are entitled to longer-term housing.

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

If the council refuses to help, you can:


Who qualifies


Challenge the council’s decision

Last updated - 07 Sep 2017

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