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Eligibility for homelessness assistance: toolkit

Posted on 26/05/22 in Housing Matters

Eligibility for homelessness assistance: toolkit

A toolkit covering eligibility for homelessness assistance for advisers supporting people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

Eligibility for homelessness help

When someone is homeless or threatened with homelessness they can apply to a local authority for help.

The local authority must investigate whether the person meets immigration and residence conditions to be eligible for assistance. There are different rules for British and Irish nationals, and people from abroad.

If the authority is satisfied that the person is eligible and homeless it must take reasonable steps to help the person to secure accommodation.

Resources for professionals

Shelter Legal

Shelter Legal is an online guide to housing law for professionals. Topics covered include homelessness, possession proceedings, and housing conditions.

Homeless rights checker helps professionals find out what homeless help someone can get based on their immigration or residence status. The tool covers eligibility under the Housing Act, Care Act and Children Act. The answers include legal references and practical guidance on what to check to confirm a person's status.

People from abroad who are eligible for homeless assistance provides a comprehensive overview of the categories of people from abroad who are eligible and any conditions that apply.

Eligibility for homelessness assistance of British and Irish citizens and their family members

Habitual residence test for homelessness assistance sets out what the habitual residence is, who is subject to the test, and how it should be applied.

People with EU pre-settled status eligibility for homelessness assistance describes the rules for people with pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

People with EU temporary protection eligibility for homelessness assistance explains the safeguards for people who are waiting for a decision from the EU Settlement Scheme.

Homeless application process provides an overview of the process of making a homeless application to a local authority.

Housing Matters articles

Housing Matters articles are written by practitioners and include commentary, practical advice, case law updates and discussion of key legal issues.

Homeless help for people affected by the war in Ukraine provides information on eligibility for people affected by the war in Ukraine, and includes details of the Ukraine Family Scheme, Homes for Ukraine, and the Ukraine Extension Scheme.

Homelessness rights of family members of EEA nationals after Brexit explains the housing rights of family members of EEA nationals after 1 January 2021.

EEA nationals' homelessness rights after Brexit sets out the housing rights of EEA nationals under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Resources for the public

Shelter Housing Advice

Homelessness applications: immigration and residence

EU citizens: Help from the council if you're homeless

Housing from refugees and people fleeting war in Ukraine

NHAS factsheets

Our easy-to-read factsheets for the public can be printed and shared.

They include:

  • EEA nationals: homelessness rules
  • Habitual residence
  • Applying as homeless

You can find these and more on our factsheets page.

Legislation and guidance

Key legislation

Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 is the primary homelessness legislation and sets out the local authority's duties to prevent homelessness and provide assistance to people homeless or threatened with homelessness. Authorities should ensure staff can deal with applicants is a sensitive manner and in line with the authority's duties under the Equality Act 2010.

The Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility)(England) Regulations 2006 prescribe the classes of persons who are eligible or ineligible for homelessness assistance. A person subject to immigration control is not eligible unless they are in a prescribed class. A person not subject to immigration control is eligible unless they are specifically excluded by the regulations. Some groups of EEA nationals continue to be treated as not subject to immigration control, and their eligibility is determined based on the regulations as they applied before 1 January 2021.

The Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 defines a 'person subject to immigration control' as someone who requires leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom.

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 introduced duties on local authorities to intervene at early stages and take action to try and prevent homelessness. The Act also expanded the help available to those who do not have a priority need.

Statutory guidance

The Homelessness code of guidance for local authorities provides guidance on how local authorities should exercise their homelessness functions. Chapter 7 covers eligibility.