What is priority need?

Who has a priority need?

Some people always have a priority need.

Other people have to prove they are are 'vulnerable.'

Vulnerable means you would be at much greater risk of harm than most people if you become homeless.

Who always has a priority need?

You're always in priority need if you or someone you live with is:

  • at risk of domestic abuse

  • pregnant or living with dependent children

  • homeless as a result of fire, flood or other disaster

Young adults with a priority need

You are in priority need if you're a care leaver aged 18 to 20.

This applies if you were looked after or housed by social services at any time while you were 16 or 17 even if you do not get social services support now.

You could be in priority need if you're aged 16 or 17.

The housing department should give you emergency housing if you need it while they contact social services to speak to you.

When you have to show you are vulnerable

If you are not in one of the situations above, you can be in priority need if you or someone you live with is vulnerable.

You could be vulnerable for one or more of these reasons:

  • mental health problems or a learning disability

  • physical disabilities or a serious health condition

  • time spent in care, prison or the armed forces

  • fleeing violence from someone who is not a partner or relative

  • old age

  • any other special reason

The council must look at your situation and evidence properly.

They must give you emergency housing while they do this if they think you might be homeless and in priority need.

If the council say you do not have a priority need

The council must still provide some help even if you do not have a priority need.

The council must provide emergency housing while they look into your situation if they think you might be homeless and in priority need.

Find out what to do next if the council say you don't have a priority need.

Last updated: 26 November 2021

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