Being homeless doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a roof over your head. You may still be legally classed as homeless if you are:

  • temporarily staying with family or friends
  • staying in a hostel or night shelter
  • living in very overcrowded conditions
  • at risk of violence or abuse in your home
  • living in poor conditions that are affecting your health.

If you’re homeless or think you might become homeless, contact your local council (if you live in England, Scotland or Wales) or the Housing Executive (if you live in Northern Ireland) as soon as possible.

Local councils (in England, Scotland and Wales) and the Housing Executive (in Northern Ireland) have a duty to help some people who are homeless. But what this help involves will depend on your individual situation. It could range from giving advice to providing you with housing.

To get support:

  • in England, Scotland and Wales, contact your local council – visit GOV.UK or check your local phone book for contact details
  • in Northern Ireland, contact the Northern Ireland Housing Executive on 03448 920 900.

If you’re at risk of becoming homeless because you are struggling with mortgage payments, you should tell your local council or the Housing Executive in Northern Ireland. They may have schemes to help people in this situation.

There are organisations across the UK that can help if you are homeless or in a situation where you may become homeless. These include Shelter, Shelter Scotland, Shelter Cymru and the Housing Rights Service in Northern Ireland.

You can search for advice services, day centres and hostels for homeless people across the UK on the Homeless Link website.

Back to Housing costs


If you are renting, you have certain rights and may be able to get help with payments.