Sofa Surfing

What do I need to know?

Arrow right

You don’t have to be sleeping on the streets to be homeless.

Arrow right

If you are staying with friends or family and have no place to call your own, you are probably experiencing ‘hidden homelessness’ and entitled to help.

Arrow right

It is important that you speak to someone you trust and get help to find somewhere safe to live.

Find Out More

If you are under 18, and

  • sofa surfing
  • sleeping at a friend or relatives house, or
  • have no where safe to stay

you should contact the social services department at your local council straight away.

Social services and the local housing department should work together to help you find some where safe and suitable to live.

To find your local social services office, search here for your local council and ask to be put through to social services.

If you are over 18 you can apply to your local council’s housing department for help. The council may have a duty to help you.

Find your local council using this search tool and ask to make a homelessness application. You can do this over the telephone or in person by going to the council’s housing department.

The council will look into your situation and see what help they can give you.

For more information and a step-by-step guide about what will happen when you ask for help from the council, click here.

If you have nowhere to stay, the council should offer you emergency housing while they decide what other help they can give to you.

Not everyone is entitled to help, but this doesn’t mean that the council can simply turn you away. You should be given advice at the very least.

If you are struggling with money go to your nearest Jobcentre or search here to find out if there are any benefits you can claim.

You might be entitled to Universal Credit and might get some help with paying any housing costs. You can still claim Universal Credit even if you don’t have a fixed address.

You might be able to get some emergency financial help from the Discretionary Assistance Fund or apply for a budgeting loan from the social fund.

See our money matters page for more helpful tips.

Food banks give food parcels to people in need.

Some food banks also offer a hot meal, practical help and someone to listen to your worries and give advice.

There is lots of other help out there.

Click here to find out more about the emergency help you can get.

Use our Support Near You search tool to find lots of different services who can help you in your area.

Want to Chat?


Chat to one of our advisers using our instant messaging service


Call our expert housing helpline on
08000 495 495

Support Near You

Use our Search Tool to find support in your area

Did you find this helpful?

Rydym yn ymddiheuro na fedrwn ddarparu’r wybodaeth yma yn Gymraeg, ond os hoffech siarad ag ymgynghorydd yn Gymraeg yna cysylltwch ar 08000 495 495.
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 08000 495 495.

This page was last updated on: January 26, 2022

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.