The law says that the local authority must provide emergency accommodation to people who are homeless, or about to become homeless, and who are vulnerable for a special reason. This means that the person would be more at risk than the average person if they had to sleep on the street. They call this being in ‘priority need’ of accommodation.
People can be vulnerable for many reasons but these categories of people are likely to be in priority need:
– People with disabilities or physical or psychological health problems
– Pregnant women
– People with children
– 16 and 17 year old
– People who have been cared for by the social services – Victims of fire, flood or other disasters
– Elderly people
– Victims of domestic violence
– People who have just left prison
– People with drug or alcohol addictions
Even if you are classed as vulnerable, the local authority will not provide you with accommodation if you are intentionally homeless. This means if you deliberately did, or failed to do, something and it is as a result of that act or failure to act that you became homelessness (for example, if you leave the house of a friend with whom you have been staying without being asked to do so).
The local authority will investigate your situation to decide whether or not you are eligible and in priority need. They will have to interview you and make other enquiries before they make their decision.
If you are homeless, the local authority has a legal duty to offer you emergency accommodation whilst they are making a decision on your homelessness application for housing. However, the accommodation will not necessarily be in the local area.