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Emergency Council Housing

How to get emergency housing if you are homeless in the United Kingdom. The council must help those with legal homelessness. But the help you get depends on your level of need, eligibility, and why you are homeless.

LEGALLY HOMELESS UK: Legal homelessness could be if you:

• Have no legal right to live in accommodation anywhere worldwide.

• Cannot get entry into your home (e.g. locked out by your landlord).

• Feel threatened to stay in your home (e.g. risk of abuse or violence).

• Have no suitable accommodation and forced to live apart from your family or people you usually live with.

• Live in extremely poor conditions (e.g. derelict property or overcrowded)

Note: Your local council decides if you have entitlement to emergency housing when you apply for help. They determine if you are homeless and whether you should get help with longer term housing.

The council has a legal duty to provide help if you are legally homeless or threatened with homelessness. The full assistance package that they give varies according to the specific situation.

It can range from offering professional advice to arranging emergency accommodation for you. As a rule the help you get from the council depends on things such as whether:

  • You became homeless and it was through no fault of your own.
  • You are eligible for help with emergency council housing.
  • Yours is a priority need.

Emergency Housing Eligibility

Living permanently in the United Kingdom means you usually qualify for emergency housing assistance. But, you may not be eligible if you are from abroad. It would depend on your immigration status.

Note: You can read through the ‘Shelter guide on housing rights‘ to work out if you are eligible. The guidance also explains what help you may get entitlement to.

Legal Aid Advice

You may also get legal aid to help pay towards your legal costs. Those who are eligible can get advice from Civil Legal Advice or you may prefer to search for a legal aid adviser.

Emergency Housing Priority

You could be an emergency council housing priority need if you:

  • Are pregnant or someone you live with is pregnant.
  • Have ‘dependent children’ under 16 living with you (under 19s if they are studying full-time).
  • Are ‘vulnerable’ perhaps because of a disability or old age.
  • Have become homeless following a disaster such as a fire or severe flooding.

Note: In some cases you may qualify for Housing Benefit to help pay for your housing costs.


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Emergency Housing If You are Homeless in the United Kingdom