Going to the council
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
If you are homeless or in danger of losing your home in the next 56 days your local council’s homelessness team will probably have to help you.
You do not have to be sleeping on the street to get help.
Get in touch with your local council and ask to make a homelessness application.
What help you get will depend on your situation and your needs.
In most cases the council will give you advice and they might have to help prevent you becoming homeless or help you find somewhere to stay.
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The council should give you help and advice at an early stage.
If you are at risk of being made homeless the council might work with you to help you stay where you are, or they might help to find you a home to stop you becoming homeless.
If you are already homeless (including if you are sofa surfing) the council might work with you to help you find somewhere more suitable.
If the council thinks you may be:
the council should offer you emergency housing while they are deciding what else they can do for you.
Not everyone is entitled to accommodation, but this doesn’t mean that the council can just turn you away. At the very least, the council has to look into your situation and give you advice to help you find or keep a home.
If you were living in the UK on the 31 December 2020 and you are a:
- European Union (EU) citizen
- European Economic Area (EEA) citizen, or a
- Swiss national
new rules mean you have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) if you want to get help from the council with your housing.
For more details about the EUSS and how to apply, click here.
You will be in priority need if you are :
- 16 or 17
- 18 to 21 and have spent some time in care (even if just for one night)
- 18 to 21 and at risk of being exploited
- responsible for dependent children
- vulnerable for a special reason, for example because of a health condition or addiction problems.
There might be other reasons why you should be considered priority need. Have a look at our advice page for more details.
You should contact the council to make a homeless application. You can do this:
- in person
- by telephone
- in writing.
The council will probably make an appointment for you to go into their offices to discuss your application.
Have a look at this list of things you should try and take with you.
At the appointment the council will ask lots of questions, such as:
- how did you became homeless, or at risk of being made homeless?
- do you have any support?
- is there anyone else in your household?
- what are your needs?
The appointment can be quite frightening but make sure you take your time and explain your situation clearly. If you do not understand something then make sure you ask them to explain it again. Remember the council are there to help you.
If you can, try and take someone you trust to the appointment with you.
The council might make a decision straight away, or they may need more time to think about what help they can give you.
They should aim to get its decision to you within 10 working days. If the council are not going to help you, they should give you full reasons. If it is a positive decision then they should write to tell you what help they are going to give to you and they may write a full housing plan.
If you are in priority need then the council might offer you emergency housing whilst they are making their decision.
If you disagree with the council’s decision, you have 21 days in which to ask for it to be looked at again. This is called asking for a ‘review‘.
If you are not sure how to ask the council to review their decision, or you need some help doing it, then it is important that you get advice as soon as possible.
If you miss the deadline you might not be able to get the decision looked at again.
If the council decide that they owe you a duty and offer you accommodation which you don’t think is suitable for you or anyone in your household, you should tell the council why. Don’t refuse the offer without getting advice first because the council may not have to offer you anything else.