By: Simon B
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Your right for somewhere to live
Local council authorities must provide homeless people with somewhere to live if they’re eligible for help, are in priority need, and haven’t intentionally made themselves homeless. In theory, that arrangement sounds as if everyone should have a home, but in practice, the council may not have the capacity to provide homes for any but those in the greatest need usually families with children. A single person is not likely to qualify for help unless pregnant or vulnerable, perhaps because of disability or age. It will also differ from city to city. For example, London has the most populated area’s and you may be put on a waiting list, or stay in a council or recognised hostel. Where other area’s such as Leeds, Sheffield, and so on may be able to provide you with accommodation that day. Please be aware this depends on the council local authority and the demand that they have at that particular time.
Under the Housing Act of 1996, local councils have to provide people who qualify with accommodation for a minimum of two years. When councils allocate council-owned property, it must give homeless people higher priority than those who already have somewhere to live.
People can be classified as homeless even though they have a roof over their heads – if they are living somewhere but there’s no room for the family to live with them, or when they can’t go on living there because of overcrowding or domestic violence, for example.
If you’re homeless or living temporarily with friends or relatives but can’t go on living there and you think you may qualify for help from your local authority, talk to the nearest Citizens Advice Bureau. The law is complicated, and the CAB will know how the local authority system works.
If you’re on a low income or welfare benefits, you may be entitled to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit to allow you to pay rent and council tax for a rented home. If you’re an asylum seeker, you’re entitled to temporary accommodation while your application to stay in the UK is processed. You must apply as soon as you arrive in the UK for help.