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Help For the Homeless or About To Become Homeless

By IntFormalities
Updated on August 13, 2023
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

A roof over their head is one piece of security many people in the UK take for granted. But the situation is different for some sections of the population. For those who are homeless or in a plight that could see them become homeless, there is help on offer. This article addresses the assistance available and what people need to do to ensure they are not left out in the cold.

What Help Is On Offer If You’re Homeless Or About To Become Homeless?
Anyone living permanently in the UK is eligible to receive help

Homelessness and the Law

In England, the local council is required by law to support those who are homeless or about to become homeless in the next eight weeks. Help and assistance are available in all countries of the UK, including Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Legal homelessness occurs when:

  • A person is residing in substandard conditions like overcrowding or a property in a state of disrepair
  • It is unreasonable for a person to live in their home because of abuse or violence
  • A person cannot enter their home, for example, because the landlord has barred them from entry
  • Someone has to live away from their family due to a lack of space or accommodation
  • They have no right to a home anywhere in the world

Where To Go If You Are Homeless or about To Become Homeless

It is best to contact the local council; they are the ones equipped to offer assistance. This website will ask you to enter your postcode and provide your local authority’s contact number or email address.

What Help Is Available?

There are various forms of assistance your council could offer. They could, for example, provide advice, offer emergency housing accommodation, help to obtain long-term accommodation, or find solutions to ensure you can stay in your current home. The help depends on factors such as:

  • A person’s eligibility to receive help
  • If they are on the priority list, and
  • The events that caused the homelessness

A housing officer will study a person’s case to provide the best advice.

A Person’s Eligibility

People who live permanently in the UK are eligible to receive help. Immigration standing plays a part; individuals from overseas might not qualify, in which case the council won’t help. Details on immigration and housing rights can be found on the website of the homeless charity organisation Shelter.

Priority List

Certain people are given priority. Priority applies if:

  • You or the person you live with is expecting a child,
  • Kids under the age of sixteen reside with you (they can be under nineteen if in full-time education),
  • You are aged sixteen or seventeen,
  • You are less than twenty-one and lived in care between the ages of sixteen to eighteen,
  • The council classifies you as vulnerable (for instance, due to a senior age or disability)
  • You have become homeless after a disaster such as a fire or a flood.

What Documentation Is Required

Before speaking to the council, be sure to have the following documents ready:

Receiving Further Advice

Though the local council will provide advice, you can also reach out to homeless charities such as Shelter for free impartial information. Legal advice can be sought if a person is about to become evicted from their home. It may be possible to make an application for legal aid to help with the costs of gaining legal advice and further action if necessary.

Wrap Up

According to figures by Shelter, at the end of 2021, almost 275,000 people were homeless and in need of a place to live. Given the economic situation has deteriorated since the grip of the Covid pandemic, this figure will have increased. The idea of becoming homeless is not a pleasant thought. But thankfully, in the UK, there is a safety net in place to help anyone affected by homelessness.

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