Where to go to make an homelessness application?
You should contact the local authority housing department to make an appointment if possible, but you can also simply go there and ask to see a person dealing with homelessness. Local authorities try to interview homeless applicants as quickly as possible. You may be offered an interview straight away or the local authority may make an appointment for you to come back. If you are homeless immediately, the local authority should see you on the same day.
Which council to go to?
You can apply to any local authority in the country, but they will refer you to another area if you have no local connection with them. You have a local connection with an area if you:
- Work there, or
- Have lived there six months during the last twelve months, or three years out of the last five years, or
- Have an immediate family member (parents, siblings, children, guardians or step-parents) who has lived there for five years, or
- Were accommodated by the UKBA there when you got your status decision.
What to bring to the interview?
You should take as many of your documents and letters as you can, most importantly:
- Proof of identity and immigration status – your Immigration Status Document or Biometric Residence Permit and your letter from the UKBA stating that you have been granted permission to stay. You also need documents confirming the identity of any other people in the family and their relationship to you, such as birth certificates.
- Proof that you are homeless or are going to become homeless – a letter from UKBA, or from the person you have been staying with, stating that you have to leave your present accommodation and giving the date on which you must leave.
- Proof of address – preferably letters from official organisations or the UKBA.
- Proof of vulnerability – letters, medical reports, and any other papers about any of the issues listed above for anyone in your household.
When the local authority makes a decision?
When the local authority makes a decision, they will issue you with a letter called a ‘section 184’ decision giving reasons for their decision. If the decision is positive, the local authority will then begin to look for more permanent accommodation for you. If the decision is negative, the local authority will give you a date to leave the emergency accommodation.
You have the right to appeal the local authority’s decision, which you must do by the deadline date which they give you. You can ask to remain in the accommodation until the appeal has been decided. It is recommended that you approach a professional advice worker, such as at Citizens Advice, or a lawyer specialising in housing for help with an appeal.