Are you eligible for help?
The local authority considers when you apply for help from them if you are homeless or threatened with homeless.
For you to qualify for emergency housing when homeless, the local authority has to have reason to believe that you:
- have a right to live in the UK and are eligible for assistance
- are legally homeless
- are in priority need
To decide if you are entitled to help with longer-term housing, the local authority also has to be satisfied that you are not intentionally homeless and that you have a local connection with its area.
You are eligible for assistance if you are a homeless British citizen or Irish citizen living in the UK and you have not recently spent time living abroad.
You are eligible for homelessness help from the local authority if you are a citizen of any country outside the EU or EEA and have been given permission to stay in the UK with no restrictions on your stay.
If you are a national of an EU or EEA country, you are usually eligible for assistance if you have lived in the UK continuously for five years and have been working, studying or supporting yourself as a self-sufficient person.
Family members of these EEA nationals are also usually eligible for assistance.
You are eligible for assistance if you're working in the UK. Work does not need to be full-time. You still qualify if you are doing genuine part-time work but need to top up your income with state benefits. Self-employment also counts.
You are also eligible for assistance in some situations when you have stopped working.
Some family members of EU or EEA nationals are eligible for assistance with housing in their own right.
The local authority has to inform you in writing if it decides that you are not eligible for assistance. The local authority must explain the reasons why it has come to that decision.
Most decisions that the local authority makes in connection with a homelessness application can be reviewed. This includes the suitability of accommodation provided after the council has completed its enquiries.
If you think the local authority's decision is wrong, you can ask for a review. For example, if the local authority gives you a decision letter which says you:
- are not homeless or threatened with homelessness;
- are not eligible for assistance;
- do not have a priority need;
- have made yourself homeless intentionally;
- do not have a local connection and should be referred to another local authority, or if another local authority has accepted a duty to provide you with accommodation in their area.
Challenging Local Authority's decision
You may ask for a review if you feel you have been offered unsuitable accommodation. This applies to:
- temporary accommodation offered or provided to you after your homeless application was accepted by the council;
- a settled housing offer made by the local authority
You can ask for a review of suitability whether you have accepted the offer or not.
You have only 21 days to request a review to challenge the local authority's decision. The local authority will take 8 weeks to carry out a review of their decision. The local authority has discretion to provide interim accommodation pending review.
You have only 21 days to appeal to the court if your request for a review is turned down or the local authority failed to make a review decision within 8 weeks.