Can The Council Help If You Are Homeless?

Being homeless is a consequence of many factors including low income or escape from domestic abuse. Through this blog post, we aim to learn whether the council authorities can help you if you are homeless. We will also discuss the conditions that classify an individual as being homeless and the situations that cause councils to stop supporting individuals whom they previously helped due to homelessness.

Can The Council Help If You Are Homeless?

Yes, the council can help if you are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless in the immediate future. If you are homeless, the council will provide you accommodation at an emergency shelter and if you do not expect your situation to improve in the near future, you can apply for council housing for long-term accommodation.

If you fear that you will be homeless, you can ask the council for help with accommodation 8 weeks in advance by applying with a homeless application.

In addition to this, the council can also help you with the following solutions if you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless:

  • provide support and advice for housing
  • accommodate you in an emergency shelter
  • help you keep your home if it is possible
  • if you need help in finding a home provide support and assistance
  • provide you with a council home for long-term housing

However, any help extended by the council for homeless individuals depends on your circumstances. If you have become intentionally homeless, you will not be able to find any help or support from the council.

Who Can Get A Council House If They Are Homeless?

You can get a council house if you are homeless; provided you fulfil the following conditions:

  • You are a British or Irish citizen, are living under the settled status from the EU settlement scheme, have an indefinite leave to remain, you have refugee status or humanitarian protection
  • You are in high priority need of housing
  • You are legally homeless
  • You are not intentionally homeless
  • You have a local connection to the area or you will be housed in a council district where you have one; unless you are homeless due to domestic abuse. 

What Counts As Being Homeless?

To be considered homeless, an individual needs to meet the below criteria:

  • One doesn’t have to be rough sleeping to be considered homeless. If anyone is sleeping off their friend’s sofa or living under cramped/overcrowded, unsanitary conditions, they will also qualify as being homeless. 
  • When the council extends help for homelessness, this includes being legally homeless or being threatened of homelessness in the immediate future.
  • If someone is legally homeless, it means that they have nowhere to live in the UK, they have a home in the UK but can’t access it, they can’t live in their home because of abuse, poor conditions or it is no longer affordable or they have no appropriate place to keep their home if it is moveable such as a caravan or houseboat.
  • Threatened for homelessness includes a tenant who has been asked to leave their home within 8 weeks and has nowhere to live once the time ends or a tenant has been issued a valid section 21 notice which does not require the landlord to give a reason for eviction.

What Makes You A Priority For Council Help If You Are Homeless?

If anyone faces even one of these conditions, it means that they are in a priority need and their need for housing will be addressed earlier than other individuals on the list. These include:

  • If an individual or someone living with them is pregnant
  • If you have a child or children under the age of 16 (19 if they are in full-time education) living with you
  • If you are aged 16 or 17 years old
  • If you are 21 years of age but were in care between the ages of 16 and 18
  • If you are assessed as being vulnerable due to disability, old age or having suffered from domestic abuse
  • If you were made homeless due to a disaster such as a fire, flood or earthquake

When Does The Council Stop Helping Someone Who Has Been Homeless?

Council authorities will stop extending any previous support to individuals whom they’ve helped in the short term with emergency shelter or in the long term with council housing under the following situations:

  • You find suitable accommodation which is expected to remain available to you for at least 6 months
  • You refuse suitable accommodation offered through the council or privately
  • You are no longer eligible for council support or fail to cooperate in improving your situation
  • The council finds out that there has been a mistaken fact and you did not qualify for council support in the first palace
  • The council finds out that you have become intentionally homeless by leaving a suitable accommodation of your own will


The above discussion helps us in drawing the conclusion that as long as an individual fits the criteria for being legally homeless or threatened with homelessness, the council will extend short-term and long-term support for them. Therefore, if you need help from your council, you must contact them immediately.

FAQs: Can The Council Help If You Are Homeless?

Do I qualify for emergency housing in the UK?

To qualify for emergency housing in the UK, an individual must be legally homeless, have a priority due to pregnancy, young children or domestic abuse and fulfil the immigration conditions.

How do you become homeless in the UK?

If you do not have the right to live in a house, you have been evicted by a landlord or you have left your home in fear of abuse, you can become homeless.

What can I do if I am homeless and have no money?

If you are homeless and have no money, you should contact your local council office for support and guidance.

Can I get Universal Credit if I am homeless?

Yes, you can get Universal Credit if you are homeless. If someone is new to Universal Credit and in financial need, they can apply for an advance payment while they wait for their benefits claim to be approved.

Can you claim PIP if you are homeless?

Yes, you can claim PIP if you are homeless. To qualify for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) one does not need to have worked or paid National Insurance.


Who qualifies for housing – Shelter England

Help if you’re homeless or about to become homeless – GOV.UK

Check if you can apply for homeless help – Citizens Advice

Applying for help if you’re homeless – Citizens Advice

Emergency housing from the council – Shelter England

Help to prevent you from becoming homeless – Shelter Cymru