Problems getting help from the council?

If you need a place immediately, the council’s housing department may have to help you – you don’t have to be sleeping on the street. You should apply as homeless. This is not the same as going on the waiting list.

Who can get help from the council?

If you are homeless or in danger of losing your home in the next 56 days you should apply as homeless to your local council housing department as soon as you can.

The council might have a duty to help you keep your current home, or perhaps help you to find somewhere else more suitable. If you are aged 16 or 17 in Wales, or aged 18 – 20 and at particular risk, you are in priority need, so the council should offer you emergency housing whilst they are deciding what other help to give you.

Have you been in care?

Anyone between the ages of 18 and 20, who has been in care at any time while they were a child, is in priority need. This means that you would probably be entitled to emergency housing if you made a homelessness application to the council.

Even if you are over 21 when you apply to the council you may still be in priority need if the council think you are vulnerable as a result of some special reason, particularly if you have been in care and do not have anywhere else to go for support.

If you are a care leaver, social services also have a duty to help you until you reach the age of 21, or, if you are in continuing further education, until you are 24.

If you are entitled to help from both housing and social services departments, they should work together to provide whatever help you need. For example, social services can ask the housing department to house you. They are not allowed just to tell you that they can’t help you and send you to the other department. If this happens, get advice immediately.

The council won’t help me

If the council says you’re not entitled to help, you may have other options. It’s worth contacting your local Shelter Cymru adviser for a second opinion. They may be able to help you challenge the council’s decision.

If you need permanent housing

Most people are eligible to apply for a council tenancy. But this doesn’t mean that the council has to house you. Many areas have very long waiting lists, and councils have to give priority to certain groups of people.

Take a look at our pages on Council and housing association waiting lists to find out more.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
0345 075 5005

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 0345 075 5005.

This page was last updated on: February 8, 2018

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.