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How can the council help me with homelessness?

If you are homeless or you are about to become homeless you can get help from your local council.

When can I get homelessness help from the council?

You'll be able get housing help from the council if you:

  • do not have a home of your own, for example because:
    • you are sleeping on a friend's sofa
    • you're staying with relatives
  • are going to have to leave your home, for example because:
    • your home is overcrowded and your family has been forced to live apart
    • your home is no longer suitable for your needs because you are elderly or disabled
    • your home is in a poor state of repair which is damaging your health
    • you're likely to be evicted in the next two months
    • you can't pay your mortgage
    • you're at risk of violence or you are being threatened.
  • can't get into your home, for example because your landlord has changed the locks or you're not allowed to live there anymore.

If this is you, you may be homeless or threatened with homelessness and you should apply as homeless to your local council.

What help is available from the council?

The help you can get depends on your personal circumstances:

  • Advice and assistance - If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness the council will give you advice and assistance to see if it can prevent you having to leave your home or help you find a new place to live.
  • Permanent housing - If you have to leave your home or you are already homeless you may also be entitled to permanent housing from the council or a housing association.
  • Temporary accommodation - If you have nowhere to stay while the council is looking into your personal circumstances, you are waiting for a permanent home or you're waiting for the council to have another look at a decision you don't agree with, you should be given somewhere to stay temporarily.
Use our flowchart to find out what help you should getting from your council.

How do I get housing help from the council?

If you are already homeless, or think that you might be about to become homeless, you should ask the council for help by making a homeless application. Find out how to contact the council and how to make a homeless application.

Can someone help me talk to the council?

Making a homeless application can seem daunting and complicated. However, an adviser from the free Shelter Scotland helpline 0808 800 4444, Citizens Advice or other local agency can help you get through it. For example, an adviser may be able to:

  • prepare you for the application by explaining what you'll need to bring with you and make sure you mention all relevant information to the homelessness officer at your interview
  • support you at your interview if necessary, or arrange for someone else to do so
  • make sure temporary accommodation and storage for your belongings is offered
  • help you with your decision letter to check that the council's decision is legal and takes into account your entire situation
  • help request a review if you're not happy with the decision
  • help make an appeal if the review is unsuccessful
  • give you advice on your housing options and help you find new accommodation.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
Get advice if you're in England

Are you homeless or at risk of becoming homeless?

I need help

The important points

  • You should contact the council if you are homeless and need help finding somewhere to stay.
  • When you contact the the council tell them that you want homeless application.
  • You should be offered temporary accommodation when the council looks into your application. 

If you're still looking for help, try searching, or find out how to contact us