How can I find somewhere to stay in an emergency?

If you need a place for tonight, find out here what your options are and how best to increase your chances of getting somewhere.

Speak to an adviser

If you need somewhere in an emergency, try and get help.

An adviser might be able to :

  • refer you to emergency accommodation providers, such as nightshelters and hostels
  • help you with a homelessness application to your local council
  • check whether you have a legal right to stay where you already are
  • check if your landlord or mortgage lender has used the correct procedure before evicting you
  • help you to arrange counselling or mediation services with family members.

Phone Shelter Cymru’s expert housing advice helpline on 08000 495 495.

Get help from the council

The housing department of your local council has a duty to help you if you are homeless or likely to become homeless within 56 days.

The help they can give you depends on your situation. If the council has reason to believe you may be:

the council should offer you emergency housing while they are deciding what else they can do for you.

Contact your local council and ask to make a ‘homelessness’ application.

For more information on how the council can help you click here.

If the housing department won’t help you, you may be able to get help from social services. There are special rules about who is entitled to housing and which department should provide it.

Contact hostels and nightshelters

If you need a place for the night, you may be able to stay in an emergency hostel or nightshelter. Many are run by charities or churches.

Spaces usually fill up quickly and you might need to be referred there by an advice service or outreach worker. See here for more details.

Consider other emergency options

There are some other types of accommodation you might be able to use in an emergency. Staying with friends or family is probably the easiest and least stressful option but it may only be possible to stay for a couple of nights.

Look into your other options, including:

Alternatively, you may be able to find a place to rent privately.

An adviser can explain how each of these options will affect your rights.

Am I entitled to any financial help?

You have to pay rent for most types of emergency housing. You may be able to claim housing benefit to help pay for this if you are on benefits or have a low income. You may also be able to get help with a deposit and/or rent in advance.

If you don’t have any money to pay for accommodation, get help immediately.

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.

Accommodation options chart

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This page was last updated on: March 18, 2024

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.