day centres and hostels
Where to go for emergency help if you are homeless
If you are homeless or are worried that you may become homeless there are several places you can go to get urgent advice and help:
- Go to the Housing Department of your local council. They will assess your situation to decide whether they have a duty to give you housing or other practical help. They can also give you advice on where else to go for help and what your rights are. All councils should have a 24 hour telephone service for people in emergency situations. To find your local Housing Department search for Housing Department under Service type and select your Area on Search all services.
- Go to a local independent homeless advice service or a day centre for homeless people. Day centres often also provide practical services for people sleeping rough such as meals, showers and laundry facilities as well as advice. To find services near you search for Homeless advice or Day centre under Service type and select your Area on Search all services.
- If you are a rough sleeper in need of accommodation in the cold winter weather, contact your nearest local area support team (outreach team) who make contact with people on the streets. If you are a member of the public and you want to help an individual on the streets in your area, please contact your local outreach team. You can also contact Streetlink (see logo at the bottom of this page) if you are in England.
- If you can't find local advice services contact Shelter's national Free Housing Advice Helpline. The helpline is open from 8am-8pm on weekdays and 8am-5pm on weekends and they give advice and information to anyone who is homeless or has housing problems.
Other useful websites
These websites have a lot of useful information and advice on what to do if you are homeless:
- Shelter website - gives full information on your housing rights, including what your local council should do to help you.
- Adviceguide website - gives information on housing and how to deal with related problems such as benefits, employment and debt.
This part of Homeless UK has been funded by the Vodafone UK Foundation.