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

 

Who qualifies

To qualify for long-term housing from your council, all the following 5 conditions must apply to you.

To qualify for emergency housing, the council must think conditions 1 to 3 apply to you.

1. You need to be legally homeless

To qualify for help, you must be classed as 'legally homeless'. This includes if you:

  • have been evicted from your home
  • need to leave due to violence
  • can't stay due to a fire or flood
  • are sleeping on the street
  • will lose your home within 28 days (for example, if you're going to be evicted)
  • have been asked to leave somewhere temporary (such as a friend's house)

2. You need to be a priority for help

To qualify for help, you or someone in your household must be in 'priority need'.

You are likely to be in priority need if you're a young person aged 16 or 17 (social services usually have to help you) or a care leaver under 21.

You will be in priority need if you're:

  • a family with children under 16 
  • a family with children under 19 (if they are in full-time education)
  • pregnant
  • homeless due to a disaster such as a fire or flood
  • classed as 'vulnerable'

You may be classed as vulnerable if, for example, you are disabled or have a serious health condition or you are at risk of domestic abuse.

When deciding if you are vulnerable, the council should take into account anything that makes it hard for you to cope with being homeless.

3. You need to be allowed to live in the UK

If you have immigration or residence restrictions, it could mean the council can't help you.

You usually qualify for help if you:

  • are a British or Irish citizen living in the UK
  • are from the EU or EEA and are living and working in the UK
  • have Home Office permission to stay in the UK and are allowed to claim benefits

Other people from abroad may also qualify for help.

If you've recently lived abroad

If you've recently lived abroad you may need to pass the 'habitual residence test' to show you're now settled in the UK, even if you are British.

If you have no access to public funds

You don't usually qualify for help if your immigration status says you have ‘no recourse to public funds’ (for example if you have a student visa).

4. You need to be homeless through no fault of your own

To qualify for longer-term help, you must be homeless through no fault of your own.

The council won't help you if you made yourself homeless. This is called being 'intentionally homeless' and includes if you:

  • were evicted due to antisocial behaviour
  • left housing that you could have stayed in
  • didn't pay rent or mortgage payments you could afford

5. You need to have links to the area

Having links is known as having a 'local connection' and includes if you:

  • have lived or worked in the area 
  • have close family who live in the area
  • need specialist health care in the area

If you don't have links to the area where you apply, the council can sometimes refer you to an area where you do have links.

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Overview

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How to apply

Last updated - 04 Sep 2017

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