Help if you’re homeless or about to become homeless

In England, your council must help if you’re legally homeless or will become homeless within the next 8 weeks.

You may be legally homeless if:

  • you’ve no legal right to live in accommodation anywhere in the world
  • you cannot get into your home, for example your landlord has locked you out
  • it’s not reasonable to stay in your home, for example you’re at risk of violence or abuse
  • you’re forced to live apart from your family or people you normally live with because there’s no suitable accommodation for you
  • you’re living in very poor conditions such as overcrowding

Find your council

Find your council to get help and advice.

What help you can get

There are different types of support your council could offer you. For example, they may offer you advice, emergency housing, support to find longer-term housing or help so you can stay in your home.

The type of help you can get depends on:

  • your eligibility for assistance
  • if you’re in priority need
  • what caused you to become homeless

Eligibility for assistance

If you live permanently in the UK, you’ll usually be eligible for assistance.

If you’re from abroad, you may not be eligible because of your immigration status. For more information, check Shelter’s guide on housing rights.

Priority need

You may be in priority need if any of the following are true:

  • you or someone you live with is pregnant
  • ‘dependent children’ live with you (under 16s or under 19s if they’re studying full-time)
  • you’re 16 or 17
  • you’re under 21 and were in care between the ages of 16 and 18
  • you’re assessed by the council as vulnerable, for example as a result of old age, disability or domestic abuse
  • you’re homeless after a flood, fire or other disaster

You may also be entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to help with your housing costs.

Get advice and support

You can get further advice and support from Shelter England.

Or find out what housing support you can get during coronavirus (COVID-19).

You may be able to get free legal advice for housing problems including if you’re being evicted or you’ve been made homeless. Check if you can get legal aid.

You can get advice from Civil Legal Advice, if you’re eligible, or you can search for a legal aid adviser.