If you're not offered housing after a homeless application

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

If you don’t get housing from the council when you make a homeless application, there are other options you can try to get somewhere to live.

The council should give you a written decision explaining why you don’t meet the criteria to get housing. Ask for this if they don’t. You should also be given information to help you find somewhere to live yourself.

You can challenge the council’s homelessness decision if you disagree with it. You should first check when you can get housing from the council if you’re homeless.

You might be able to get housing from social services in certain cases - for example if you’re under 18, have children or a disability. Contact your local council's social services department to check if you can get help.

If you have nowhere safe to sleep and need help

If you can’t stay in your home because of violence, threats or any other abuse, get help from:

Refuge or Women's Aid on 0808 2000 247 at any time

Men's Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

Calls to these numbers are free.

If you need somewhere to stay urgently

You’II need to consider finding a temporary place to stay if you don’t have anywhere you can stay tonight.

A temporary place could include:

  • staying with friends or relatives, if possible

  • getting a place in a hostel, a night shelter or refuge

You’II still need to pay rent if you’re staying in a hostel, shelter or refuge. If you’re on a low income or benefits you can get help with your rent costs.

If you need help to find somewhere to stay urgently contact your nearest Citizens Advice - an adviser can check your options. They might be able to make a referral to emergency housing providers for you to get help.

Finding a longer-term home

Getting longer-term housing can take a long time so it’s important to make sure you’ve found a temporary place to stay first.

Finding a private rented home is usually the quickest way of getting longer-term housing. It can be difficult to find affordable housing in some areas so it’s worth searching a few places.  

If you’re on a low income or get benefits you can get help with your private renting costs

You can also check if you can apply for a council or housing association home - this is the best way of getting an affordable home. You might be able to apply even if your local council couldn’t give you temporary housing when you applied for homeless help.

You'll usually be placed on a waiting list when you apply - it can take a long time to get to the top of the list. Local councils have different procedures for their waiting list, check your local council's waiting list procedure.

Even if you decide to rent privately it can still be worth applying for a council or housing association home. It’s likely to be cheaper than renting privately and offers more security.

If you’re on a low income or get benefits you can get help with your council or a housing association rent costs.

Further help

You might be able to apply for a charitable grant to help you get somewhere to live. Get information on charitable grants on the Turn2us website.

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Page last reviewed on 01 April 2018