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Eligibility for housing assistance if you're homeless

Some people from abroad may not be eligible for housing assistance from the council. This page explains what the council has to consider in deciding whether a person making a homeless application is eligible, why it might decide that you are not eligible and what you can do if it makes this decision.

What does being eligible for housing assistance mean?

Some people from abroad are not entitled to help from the council if they are homeless. If the council decides that your household is not eligible for housing assistance, it has no further duty to help you, regardless of the rest of your circumstances. If the council has already provided you with temporary accommodation, it can ask you to leave.

The council has to look at the eligibility of all the people who are included in a homeless application. It is possible that some members of a homeless household are eligible for housing assistance while others are not (see below).

How does the council decide who is eligible?

Most people are eligible for housing assistance. You will almost certainly be eligible for assistance if:

  • you live in the UK, and
  • you are a British citizen.

The main group of people who may not be eligible for assistance are people from abroad who are not British citizens and/or don't have full rights to live here because of their immigration status.

I'm an EU/EEA national

If you come from a country that was a member of the EU/EEA before May 2004 then you will have the right to enter the UK. However, you will have to meet certain criteria if you want to live and work in the UK. Read the page on EU Nationals to find out more.

What if the council needs time to look into my situation?

In this case, you should be offered temporary accommodation until the council has found out whether or not you are eligible.

What can I do if the council says I'm not eligible?

If the council considers that you are not eligible for assistance it has to inform you in writing. The letter must explain the reasons why the council has come to that decision. It must also inform you of your right to request a review of the decision within 21 days.

If this happens, you should get advice immediately to see if you can challenge the council's decision. If you are unable to request a review, or if your review is unsuccessful, a housing adviser can help you consider your alternative housing options.

Where can I get help and advice?

If you have applied to the council for help because you are homeless and the council has informed you that you are not eligible for help, get advice immediately. The rules about eligibility for assistance are complicated and this page only gives a basic overview.

If you are an asylum seeker or refugee, you can find more information in our section on asylum seekers and refugeees. You can also get advice from the Scottish Refugee Council.

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This content applies to Scotland only.
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The important points

  • Most people who are British and live in the UK will be eligible for help if they are homeless.
  • Some people from abroad won't be able to get help.
  • If you think this might apply to you or someone in your household get advice first. 
  • The council must still look at your situation but might not be able to help you. 

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

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