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32 I am homeless. What can I do?

If you have nowhere to live, then you are homeless and you have the legal right to seek help from your local council. They must look into your claim of homelessness and provide help if they think you are eligible.

As soon as you think you may become homeless, you should contact your local council immediately. You will need to fill in a homelessness application form, and may be interviewed at the council's offices. It is important to tell the council the truth in your application otherwise you may be committing a criminal offence. At this point you may also apply to join the council's waiting list for housing.

If you are homeless and in 'priority need', the council should try and provide you with emergency accommodation until they have made a decision on your homelessness application. You are considered to be in 'priority need' if:

  • you are pregnant;
  • you have children;
  • you are elderly; or
  • you are otherwise vulnerable.

The council should investigate why you became homeless. They may do this straight away, or ask you to return to their office at a later date. The council normally has 33 working days to make a decision.

The council must tell you their decision in writing. If you think that the council have got it wrong you have the right to ask for this decision to be reviewed. Even if the council decides you are not eligible for assistance, they have a legal duty to give you advice to try to help you to resolve your homelessness.

If you need help dealing with homelessness, or any other aspect of housing, we recommend that you speak to one of our housing advisers on 0845 345 4 345 for specialist advice. Telephone specialist advice is only available if you qualify for legal aid.


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