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

Vulnerable people

This content applies to England

This section looks at the different categories of vulnerability in the context of priority need.

Defining vulnerability and categories of vulnerable people

Categories of people defined as vulnerable and how vulnerability is defined. 

Old age

Elderly people who are considered vulnerable. 

People with mental illness or physical disabilities

Vulnerability due to mental illness, learning disability, or physical disability 

Care leavers aged 21 or over

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

Members of the armed forces

When a person may be vulnerable if s/he has been a member of the armed forces. 

People who have been in custody

A person may be vulnerable if s/he has been in custody. 

People who have left accommodation because of violence or abuse

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

People vulnerable for other special reason

A person may be vulnerable for some other special reason or combination of reasons. 

Applicants who live with a vulnerable person

In some situations, a homelessness applicant who lives with a vulnerable person, such as a carer, would be considered as also having a priority need. 

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