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What is homelessness?

Being homeless does not always mean that you're living on the street.

Even if you have a roof over your head you can still be homeless. This may be because you don't have any rights to stay where you live or your current home is unsuitable for you.


How do people become homeless?

Being homelessness does not mean that you have to be living on the street - even if you have a roof over your head you can still be without a home. This may be because you don't have any rights to stay where you live or your home is unsuitable for you.

You could become homeless for many reasons. These could include:

  • Being evicted by your landlord
  • Losing your job
  • Health problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Harassment by your neighbours
  • A disaster such as fire or flooding

Homeless people’s rights

Benefits

If you are homeless you are still entitled to claim benefits. If your benefits are paid directly into your bank or post office account, this will continue. If not, you may be able to collect benefit cheques from your nearest Jobcentre Plus office.

Health

If you are homeless, you are still entitled to register with a doctor. You can do so using a temporary address, such as a friend's place or a day centre.

Registering to vote

If you are homeless, you are still entitled to vote, provided you are over 18 and a UK citizen. You can register at a temporary address. Find out more about registering to vote.


Get Help

If you are homeless, or worried about becoming homeless, you should get advice as early as you can. An adviser should be able to help you find a way to stay in your home, find a new home more quickly or get help from your local council.

You can get advice from Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444, Citizens Advice, your local council or a local advice agency.

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