Homeless or worried about becoming homeless - how we can help

If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, you should contact our Housing Options Team as soon as possible.

You don't have to be on the streets to be considered homeless.

You may be legally homeless if:

  • you've no legal right to live in accommodation anywhere in the world
  • you cannot get into your home, for example your landlord has locked you out
  • it's not reasonable to stay in your home, for example you're at risk of violence or abuse
  • you're forced to live apart from your family or people you normally live with because there's no suitable accommodation for you
  • you're living in very poor conditions such as overcrowding

This means that we may be able to help if: 

  • you've had a breakdown in a relationship with your parents or partner, or you're the victim of domestic abuse
  • you're a young person who's been in care or was told to leave home
  • an ex-forces member
  • you've recently left prison or hospital and have nowhere to go
  • you're an asylum seeker or refugee
     

Get help and advice

You can contact our Housing Otions Team for help and advice.

Do not wait to come to us for help if you are worried. The sooner you come to us the more help we can give you.

We will accept a homeless application up to 56 days before you are likely to lose your home.
 

What help you can get

There are different types of support we could offer you. For example, we may offer you advice, emergency housing, support to find longer-term housing or help so you can stay in your home.

The type of help you can get depends on:

  • your eligibility for assistance
  • if you're in priority need
  • what caused you to become homeless

Eligibility for assistance

We will assess your needs and work with you to create an action plan with actions for us, you and/or others who we think can help.

If you live permanently in the UK, you'll usually be eligible for assistance.

If you're from abroad, you may not be eligible because of your immigration status. For more information, check Shelter's guide on housing rights.

Priority need

If we cannot prevent you losing your home we will consider whether we can provide you with temporary accommodation.

You may be in priority need if any of the following are true:

  • you or someone you live with is pregnant
  • 'dependent children' live with you (under 16s or under 19s if they're studying full-time)
  • you're 16 or 17
  • you're under 21 and were in care between the ages of 16 and 18
  • you're assessed by the council as vulnerable, for example as a result of old age, disability or domestic abuse
  • you're homeless after a flood, fire or other disaster

We have a duty to offer accommodation to rough sleepers at times of severe weather.

Assessment

Whether we can provide temporary accommodation or not, we will review your needs and continue to work with you on an action plan for up to 56 days. If your local connection is elsewhere you may be referred out of the area.

You may also be entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to help with your housing costs.
 

Duty to refer

Some organisations have to refer you to us for help and advice if they think that you are at risk of becoming homeless.
 

Get advice and support

You can get further advice and support from Shelter England.

Find more information in our Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2020-2025 (PDF) [580KB] .