A Guide to Homelessness

Help from the council

What help can I get from the council?

The help you can get depends on your personal circumstances:

  • Advice and assistance - If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness

  • Temporary accommodation - If you have nowhere to stay while the council is looking at your personal circumstances, you should be given somewhere to stay temporarily.

  • Permanent housing - If you have to leave your home or you are already homeless you may also be entitled to permanent housing.

Applying as homeless

The council must help you if you're homeless or will be in the next 2 months.

You make a homeless application by going to your local council and say that you are there to make a homeless application. The council will then need to check out the details of how you have become homeless and your personal circumstances.

You will be asked to fill in a homelessness application form and then you will have an interview with a homelessness officer.

If you have no where to stay then the council should offer you temporary accommodation.

Who can make a homelessness application?

Only one person has to make the application on behalf of the whole household. Your household consists of:

  • Anyone who currently lives with you, and

  • Anyone who could be expected to live with you if you had accommodation where you could all live together.

The homelessness interview

At the interview you have the right to:

  • Be interviewed in a private room where you won't be overheard

  • Choose to be interviewed by a man or woman

  • Take a friend or an adviser with you

  • Have an interpreter if English is not your first language

  • Have a sign langauge interpreter if you have a hearing impairment

You will then be asked some questions about your situation and how you became homeless. These will include questions about:

  • How many people there are in your household

  • Where you have been living

  • Why you had to leave your accommodation and if you will be able to return there

  • Any health problems in your household

  • Any problems you have had with domestic abuse or other forms of harassment

  • Your financial circumstances

There are several 'tests' you will need to pass before you will be eligible for a permanent home. The section on making a homeless application explains what these are.

What happens after the interview?

If you have nowhere to stay, you should be offered temporary accommodation whilst the council looks into your situation. Also, the council should also arrange to store your personal belongings if you're not able to do this yourself.

If you need housing advice, contact us for free.

Last updated: 4 October 2020

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England

Get homeless help from the council

The council must help if you are homeless or likely to become homeless in the next two months.

Get emergency help from the council