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What is priority need?

Use this guide if you are homeless or might be homeless in the next 2 months.

Find out if you have priority need and how to show this to the council.

What is priority need?

A priority need is a special reason why the council must give you more help if you are homeless or facing homelessness. Sometimes, it means the council must give you emergency housing.

Examples of priority need include if you are:

  • pregnant or have children

  • homeless because of domestic abuse

  • aged 18 to 20 and were in care

You could also have a priority need if you are vulnerable because of illness or disability, or another special reason.

'Vulnerable' has a special meaning in housing law. It means you are more at risk if you become homeless than most other people.

You need to answer questions and show information so the council can decide if you have a priority need because you're vulnerable. 

Why priority need is important

If you have a priority need, the council must give you emergency housing if you need it.

You also must:

  • count as homeless

  • meet immigration conditions

Find out how to:

Priority on the council housing register

Priority need is different from priority on the housing waiting list.

Find out how to:

Last updated: 29 September 2023

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