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Your rights if homeless

Worried  woman with mug black and white

You don't have to be sleeping on the streets or not have a roof over your head to be considered homeless. Most people who are legally homeless are not on the streets.

There are many situations where the council must accept you are homeless, and may have a legal duty to help you with housing. 

For example: 

  • You don't have 'a roof over your head', meaning you are street homeless.
  • You're at risk of violence or abuse where you are living. This can be from a partner, ex-partner or family member, or someone in your area.
  • You're at risk of losing your home, for example being evicted, or asked to leave.
  • You can't afford to stay where you are.
  • Your accommodation is very temporary.
  • You are staying with friends or 'sofa surfing'.
  • You've been locked out or illegally evicted.
  • Your accommodation is in very poor condition and is dangerous.
  • You have nowhere to put your houseboat or caravan. 

If one or more of these apply, you may be eligible for help from us (Leicester City Council). The main thing we can do to help is create a personal housing plan so that you can work together with us to solve the problem.

Who we can help 

  1. There must be a reason to believe that you might be homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days. At this point you can make a homeless application. This means that you are telling the council you are homeless or at risk of homelessness and need our help. 
  1. You must be eligible - normally live in the UK long-term and not be subject to immigration control. 
  1. You must be recognised as homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days.

At this point your homeless application moves to the next stage, and we will carry out an assessment of your situation, housing needs, and support needs.  The caseworker will then work with you to create a personal housing plan.

If you are homeless and have nowhere to stay, we will assess your needs and decide if temporary accommodation can be provided whilst we work together.

If homelessness has not been solved at the end of a certain period of time (on average, around 150 days), the plan will be closed and the council will make the final decision on the application based on: 

  1. If you have a priority need - this means either you have children, you have a physical or mental health disability, or if you are more vulnerable for other reasons such as fleeing domestic violence.
  1. If you have made yourself intentionally homeless – this means made yourself homeless on purpose, or done something on purpose that started a series of events that eventually led to homelessness.
  1. You must have a local connection with the borough. However, this is not always necessary if you are fleeing domestic violence.

If you meet these criteria, we have a duty to offer you a suitable home in the private rented sector (for example, with a private landlord or estate agency).

How do I start? 

Our Housing Options service can help you with either finding, or keeping a safe and suitable home for you and your family. We have a team of housing advisors who will work with you to explore all of your options. 

We will make an appointment for you to be interviewed by an advisor. You can bring a support worker or friend to the interview if you wish. 

You can choose whether the interview is face-to-face, or over the phone.

To get in contact, call on 0116 454 1008. 

At the interview 

You need to take the right documents to your interview, otherwise you may not be able to get the help you need.

You will get a pack when you book, either on paper or e-mailed to you. This pack will tell you what documents to provide. It will also have a link to a website where you can answer some quick questions about your household and your situation. 

For more information on the homelessness interview, you can look at the Shelter website in the ‘How to make a homeless application’ section

Other support if you are not eligible 

If you are not eligible for housing provided by us, you may still be able to access: 

  • Help from social services when homeless: if you have children or additional needs you may be able to get support from Children’s or Adult Social Care.

If this is the case, the officer will tell you about your options at the time, and help you to get in touch with the people you need to talk to.