A Guide to Homelessness

What is homelessness?

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?

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


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.


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.

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