You don’t have to be living on the street to be homeless. You may be sleeping on a friend’s sofa, staying in a hostel, or living in overcrowded or unsuitable accommodation.

This section explains what homelessness is and how it can be avoided, how you can get help and what to do if you’re sleeping rough.

Important: The law about what help local councils should give you if you are homeless or about to become homeless changed in Wales on the 27th April 2015. The advice in this section applies if you contact a council in Wales for help about your housing on or after that date. If you are applying to a council in England then the rules are different and you should get advice from Shelter.

If you need more information, or need to speak to someone urgently, call Shelter Cymru’s expert housing advice helpline on 0345 075 5005 or visit advice near you to find an advice surgery near you where you can talk to someone in person.

Contact us

For urgent advice please call our expert housing advice helpline on 0345 075 5005

or, for non-urgent enquiries please use our email advice service. An adviser will aim to reply to emails within five working days.

Advice near you

Advice near you
Shelter Cymru operate numerous advice centres and surgeries across Wales. To find out when there is an adviser in your area, visit advice near you and find your local area.

What is homelessness?

You may be homeless if you live in unsuitable housing, don’t have rights to stay where you are or you’re sleeping rough.

Avoiding homelessness

There are sometimes ways to avoid becoming homeless, even when the situation appears hopeless

Homeless people’s rights

Find out what your basic rights are if you are homeless or are likely to be homeless soon. You may have more rights than you think.

Emergency accommodation

If you are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, and need somewhere to stay in an emergency there may be a number of options available to you.

Getting help from the council

Local councils have legal duties to help people who are homeless or in danger of losing their home. In most cases the council will have to provide you with advice and may have to help you find a home.

Help from Social Services

If you are homeless or about to become homeless, the councils’ social services department might be able to help you.

Sleeping on the streets

If you are sleeping rough, there is help available. Specialist services such as day centres, outreach teams and night shelters might be able to help you.

EU and EEA Nationals

People from the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) may be able to get help from the council if they become homeless

Asylum seekers

If you are an asylum seeker, a refugee or are appealing against an unsuccessful asylum claim, you may be entitled to housing and support

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.