This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at www.shelter.org.uk

Homelessness applicants with priority need

This content applies to England

The criteria used by local authorities for establishing whether a homeless applicant has a priority need for help with housing.

Priority need categories

The Housing Act 1996 defines the categories of people who must be accepted as having priority need for help with housing. 

Priority need when pregnant

Priority need of someone who is pregnant and homeless 

Homeless families with children

Priority need of homeless households with dependent children. 

Homeless due to domestic abuse

Domestic abuse, or other threat of violence, that causes someone to leave their home may mean they are vulnerable and have a priority need 

People with disabilities

A person may be vulnerable and in priority need due to a physical or learning disability or mental illness 

16 and 17 year olds

Priority need of homeless applicants who are 16 or 17 years old 

Care leavers aged 18, 19 or 20

Priority need of homeless applicants who are care leavers aged 18, 19 or 20 

Care leavers aged 21 or over

A person may be vulnerable if s/he is a 'care leaver' aged 21 or over. 

Older or elderly people

Vulnerability and priority need of homeless applicants who are older people or elderly 

Ex-services and veterans

Vulnerability and priority need of homeless applicants who have been in the armed forces 

Homeless ex-offenders

Vulnerability and priority need of homeless applicants who have been in custody 

Homeless due to an emergency

Priority need of people made homeless by a flood, fire or other disaster. 

Priority need of vulnerable people

Categories of vulnerable people and how vulnerability is defined. People who are vulnerable for other reasons. Applicants who live with a vulnerable person. 

Priority need refusal letters

A discussion of decision letters where the local authority has decided that an applicant is not in priority need 

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