Check if you can apply for homeless help
You can apply to the council to get somewhere to live if you're homeless or you’II become homeless within 8 weeks.
If you’re not a British citizen and you’ve been rough sleeping your right to stay in the UK might be affected. If you’re applying to the EU Settlement Scheme your application cannot be turned down because of rough sleeping. Talk to an adviser if you’re worried that rough sleeping might affect your immigration status.
Coronavirus - if you’re sleeping outside or in emergency accommodation
Your local council might help you now, even if you wouldn’t usually be entitled to help. This includes if you've left or turned down emergency accommodation.
Ask the council what their policy is for helping rough sleepers. The government have said they’re working with local councils to keep people in housing - that includes making more funding available to support rough sleepers.
Ask your council how they can help - you can find their contact details on GOV.UK.
You don’t have to be sleeping on the streets to be considered homeless. You can apply for help even if you have somewhere to live but it’s not suitable. For example, if you’re staying on a friend’s sofa or your home is overcrowded.
You can also apply for help if you’ve been given a valid section 21 eviction notice which ends within 8 weeks.
How much help you get depends on your circumstances.
It’s worth applying for help even if you’re not sure you’II get it - councils have to make decisions on a case by case basis.
If you’re not a British citizen, applying for homeless help could affect your right to stay in the UK. Contact your nearest Citizens Advice before applying for help.
If you’re aged 16 to 17 or you’ve recently been living in care, social services usually have to help you with housing. Find out more about when social services must house you.
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 you can apply for homeless help. You can also get help from:
Men's Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
Calls to these numbers are free.
Find out if you can get help
You can get council help if you're eligible and you're legally homeless or have been threatened with homelessness.
Check if you’re eligible for help
You’re usually eligible for help if you’re a British or Irish citizen living in the UK. If you’re a British or Irish citizen recently returned to the UK, the rules can be complex. It’s best to get advice from your nearest Citizens Advice.
There are extra rules if you’re not a British citizen - for example if you’re a citizen of a country in the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
The EEA includes EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Check which countries are in the EU on GOV.UK.
If you're a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland
You can only get housing help if you have:
- British citizenship and can prove you’re ‘habitually resident’ - for example, if you have dual nationality
- indefinite leave to remain or settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme
- pre-settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme and another ‘right to reside’
- limited leave to remain and you have ‘recourse to public funds’ - this means you can claim benefits and get help with housing
You might also be able to get housing help if you both:
- applied for settled or pre-settled status by 30 June 2021 and are waiting for a decision
- have a right to reside now – and you also had a right to reside on 31 December 2020
If none of these apply to you, you might be able to make a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme. You’ll need to have a good reason for missing the deadline of 30 June 2021. You can check how to make a late application.
If you're a citizen of a country outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland
If you’ve come from Ukraine
You’re eligible for housing help if:
- you have a visa that gives you the right to stay in the UK
- your visa doesn’t say ‘no public funds’
You might be eligible for housing help if you’re a family member of someone from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein. They'll need to have either:
- settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme
- pre-settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme and another right to reside
Your family member’s right to reside depends on things like their work, family and personal situation. You can check if they have a right to reside.
You might be eligible for housing help if you’re a family member of someone who was born in Northern Ireland and they’re a British or Irish citizen – or both. First you’ll need to get pre-settled status or settled status – check if you can apply for pre-settled or settled status on GOV.UK.
If you have settled status, you can apply for housing help.
If you have pre-settled status, the rules are complicated – talk to an adviser to check if you can apply for housing help.
You might also be eligible, for example if you:
- are a refugee - this is if you’ve claimed asylum and been given refugee status and leave to remain in the UK
- have indefinite leave to remain and you’re habitually resident in the UK - this can’t be subject to any conditions such as ‘no recourse to public funds’
Before you try to get housing help, talk to an adviser.
If you’ve come from Afghanistan
You might be able to get housing help if you came to the UK through one of these schemes at any time:
- the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP)
- the Afghanistan Locally Employed Staff Ex-Gratia Scheme (ALES)
- the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS)
You also might be able to get housing help if all of the following apply:
- you came to the UK from Afghanistan because of the fall of the government on 15 August 2021
- you’ve been given ‘leave to remain’
- it doesn’t say ‘no public funds’ on your immigration papers
Talk to an adviser if you have a sponsor, or if you’re not sure about your immigration status.
If your client has leave to remain subject to a sponsorship
Your client can only get housing help if one of the following applies:
- their sponsor, or all of their sponsors, have died
- it's been more than 5 years since they entered the UK or the sponsorship started - whichever is later
Get help understanding your client’s immigration status if you’re not sure what status they have.
Your local council might ask you to prove your immigration status. You’ll need to show one of the following:
- a document showing you have come to the UK through one of the schemes
- a stamp or visa in your passport
- a letter from the Home Office that shows when you arrived and why
Before you try to get housing help, talk to an adviser.
If you're stateless
You can apply for housing help if you:
don’t have citizenship of any country
are habitually resident with stateless ‘leave to remain’ in the UK - check if you’re habitually resident
Check if you’re legally homeless or threatened with homelessness
To get help from the council you’II need to be either legally homeless or threatened with homelessness.
You’re legally homeless if:
- you have nowhere to live in the UK or abroad
- you have a home but you can’t access it - for example, if your landlord has unlawfully evicted you by changing the locks
- it wouldn’t be reasonable for you to stay in your home - for example, because of abuse, poor conditions or you can’t afford it
- you have nowhere you can keep your home if it’s moveable - for example, if it’s a caravan or house boat
You're classed as being threatened with homelessness if:
- you have to leave your home within 8 weeks - for example, if you're asked to leave somewhere temporary
- you're given a valid section 21 notice to leave your home and the notice ends within 8 weeks
What help can you get
If you qualify for help the council will first check if they can help you find a new home if you’re already homeless. If you’re threatened with homelessness they’II see if they can help you stay in your home.
You’II usually be given help for 8 weeks. If you're threatened with homelessness and have been given a valid section 21 notice you must be given help for longer.
If you’re threatened with homelessness and your situation changes so you become legally homeless you’II get help for another 8 weeks. You’II be given help to find a new home.
The council has to work with you to put together a written housing plan, saying exactly how they’II help you stay in your home or find a new one.
For example, if you’re threatened with homelessness they might be able to negotiate with your landlord so you can stay in your home. If you’re already homeless they might be able to give you a deposit to get private rented housing. Find out more about getting a housing plan.
If the council can’t help you stay in your home or find a new one they’II check if they can give you other help. You might be able to get emergency housing or longer- term housing.
Find out if you can get emergency housing
You can get short-term emergency housing straight away if the council think all these things might apply:
- you're eligible for help
- you're legally homeless
- you're in priority need
If you're threatened with homelessness you can't get emergency housing, but if you later become legally homeless you might be able to get it.
If you're offered emergency housing you could be placed in a bed and breakfast or hostel while the council decides if you qualify for longer-term housing. Find out more about getting emergency housing.
You can check what to do if you have nowhere to stay tonight and you can’t get emergency housing.
You’II be in priority need if you’re:
- living with a child - this will usually include a child aged 16 to 18 if they’re in full-time education or training
- pregnant or living with someone who is
- homeless because of domestic abuse
- homeless because of an emergency - for example a fire or flood
- 16 or 17 and you’re not living with your family and social services can’t help you - check when you can get help from social services
- 18 to 20 and you were living in care
You’re also in priority need if it would be more difficult for you to cope with being homeless because of your needs. This is known as being ‘vulnerable’. You might be vulnerable for example because of a disability or old age.
Your local council might also decide you’re vulnerable if you have a medical condition which increases your risk if you get coronavirus.
If you don't have a priority need
The council should check if anyone else in your household has a priority need. This includes anyone who it would be reasonable to expect to be living with you. For example, your partner might not be able to live with you because your home is overcrowded.
The council might not check if anyone else in your household has a priority need, so make sure you tell them if anyone does. This will help you get the help you need.
If you’re sleeping rough or you might be soon
Your local council might be able to help you even if you don’t have a priority need. Contact the council and ask if they can help you. You can find your local council’s contact details on GOV.UK.
If you were previously considered to be in priority need
In certain cases you can still be treated as being in priority need after you're given housing by the council. This would apply if you were placed in private rented housing and had to reapply for homeless help within 2 years through no fault of your own. Your council should offer you somewhere else to live in this case.
Find out if you can get longer-term housing
If you qualify for emergency housing help, you might be able to get longer-term housing if you didn’t cause your homelessness, known as being ‘intentionally homeless’
The council might also refer you to another council to be housed if you don’t have a local connection, for example by living in the area for sometime.
If you qualify for help you might be offered a council or housing association flat or house, but you could be offered a private rented home instead. Find out more about getting housing from the council.
Check you didn't cause your homelessness
You usually won't get longer-term housing if the council thinks you made yourself homeless. This includes if you:
- left a home you could have stayed in
- didn't make rent or mortgage payments you could afford
- made arrangements with someone to become homeless - for example, getting family to evict you when you didn't have to move out
Having a local connection
If you qualify for longer-term housing the council will only have to give you housing if you have a local connection. Don't worry, you'll still be housed but it might be by another council.
If you don't have a local connection the council can refer you to another council that you have a connection to. They can't do this if you would be at risk of violence in that area. For example, if you have an abusive ex-partner in the area. Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you're referred to an area where you would be at risk.
The council might accept you have a local connection to your area if:
- you've been living in the area for some time - usually for the last 6 months
- you work in the area
- you have family living in the area