Help from the council when homeless

Your local council might have to help you if you are homeless or in danger of losing your home in the next 56 days. If you are in this situation, contact the council and ask to make a homelessness application. Make sure the person you speak to understands that you need help immediately.

The pages below provide lots more advice on getting help from the council and you could also look at our Step-by-step guide to making a homelessness application.

If you are applying to a council in England then the rules are different and you should get advice from Shelter.


In response to the outbreak of violence in Israel that commenced 7 October 2023, there has been an important change in law.

This change helps certain groups of people fleeing the violence to receive housing assistance.

The following people are now eligible for homelessness assistance and community landlord housing without having to satisfy the conditions of the ‘habitual residence test’:
People arriving in Wales who are subject to immigration control:

  • who were residing in Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights or Lebanon immediately before 7 October 2023 and left in connection with the attack on 7 October 2023 or the violence which rapidly escalated in the region following the attack;
  • who have been granted leave in accordance with the immigration rules;
  • whose leave is not subject to a condition requiring them to maintain and accommodate themselves, and any person dependent upon them, without recourse to public funds, and
  • whose leave was not given as a result of an undertaking that a sponsor would be responsible for the person’s maintenance and accommodation.

People not subject to immigration control:

  • who were residing in Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights or Lebanon immediately before 7 October 2023 and left in connection with the attack on 7 October 2023 or the violence which rapidly escalated in the region following the attack.

If you have arrived from Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights or Lebanon elsewhere in the United Kingdom, please check Shelter England, Shelter Scotland, or Housing Advice Northern Ireland for updates.


From 1 January 2021 important new rules affect citizens from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals in the UK applying for homelessness help from the council.

EU/EEA/Swiss nationals living in the UK at 31st December 2020

If you were an EU/EEA citizen or a Swiss national living in the UK on 31st December 2020 you must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) to continue to be entitled to apply to the council for social housing and homelessness help.

If you have not yet applied to the EUSS you should do so by 30th June 2021.

You and all your family members (including children) living in the UK at 31st December 2020 must apply to the EUSS.

EU/EEA/Swiss nationals moving to the UK from 1st January 2021

From 1st January 2021 if you are an EU/EEA /Swiss national moving to the UK you will be subject to UK immigration rules.

This means that, in most cases, you will not automatically be able to apply for social housing or homelessness help and will be subject to a new points-based immigration system.

For more information on these new rules, see our page on EU and EEA nationals.

For free, impartial and confidential advice and help applying to the EUSS contact Citizen’s Advice EU citizens’ rights project on 01446 509897 or email [email protected]

Homeless, what can I do?

Accommodation options chart

Items to support your homelessness application

Overview of the council’s duties

Take a look at this useful overview of what help councils can provide in Wales if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

Who can apply as homeless?

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness within the next 56 days, then you can apply to the council for help in finding or keeping your accommodation. This is called making an homelessness application.

What will the council check?

What help you are entitled to from the council depends on your circumstances and there are a number of things that the council will need to check during their assessment of your case.

What help can the council provide?

In most cases the council will provide you with advice and help at an early stage. They may have to help you find a home, or in some situations, keep your current home. In other cases, the council may have a duty to make sure you are provided with a home.

What is a suitable offer?

Any accommodation the council offers must be considered suitable for you and your household. The council has to look at specific factors in deciding if the accommodation is suitable.

A council’s decision

There are special rules that the council must follow once it has made a decision about your homelessness application. This section explains those rules and what you can do if you don’t agree with the decision.

Referral to social services

If you are homeless and you apply to the council housing department for help, it may refer you to social services for assistance.

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This page was last updated on: June 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.