What is priority need?

Letter template: Show you have a priority need

You might have to show the council that you are much more likely to suffer harm than other people if you are homeless.

The council must give you emergency housing if they think you might have a priority need but do not have proof yet.

Get a supporting letter

Ask your doctor, psychiatrist, social worker or support worker to write a letter for the council.

The letter should say:

  • if you have any health problems or disability

  • how your condition and any treatment affects you

  • what your situation is and how being homeless could make you more vulnerable

  • what would happen if you had nowhere to stay

The council must look at this information even if they have their own medical advisers.

Show this guide to the person writing you a supporting letter if they are not sure what information to include.

Tell the council why you have a priority need

Use our letter template to write a letter yourself.

Send this to the council along with a supporting letter if you have one.

[Use the subject: Priority need for homeless help]

I am making a homeless application under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996.

The information below gives you reason to believe that I qualify for emergency housing under section 188 of the Housing Act while you make enquiries into my situation.

I want you to help with emergency housing straight away as I have nowhere to stay. I do not have any support from family or friends.

I am vulnerable and have a priority need because of [include anything that applies]:

  • disability and health conditions

  • having been in prison, care, the armed forces, asylum support housing

I am at much greater risk if I am on the streets because of this.

I have experienced [for example, violence, harassment or exploitation while homeless].

I have [list any disabilities or health conditions and say how they affect you].

My medication is [give details, including how it must be stored and side effects].

I use mobility aids to [give details].

I get support from [for example, a doctor or support worker. Explain any help or treatment they give].

I am eligible for help because [write your nationality or immigration status].

You can also download the template to send as an email attachment or by post:


How to contact your council's homeless team

What is your location?

Last updated: 28 September 2023

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

Get help