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eleafletAm I 'in priority need' and 'eligible for assistance'?

'In priority need' and 'eligible for assistance' are two terms the council uses to describe people it must find a home for. Here's how to work out whether you fit into these groups.

Am I 'in priority need' and 'eligible for assistance'?

To decide whether they must find you a home,  councils must follow sets of rules that describe 'in priority need'. The rules in England are slightly different from those in Wales.


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What 'in priority need' means if you live in England

If you live in England, you are in priority need if:

  • you have dependent children living with you
  • you or someone you live with is pregnant
  • you are homeless because of an emergency such as a fire, flood or other disaster
  • you or someone you live with is vulnerable because of old age, physical disability or mental illness or another special reason, or
  • you are 16 or 17 years old.
  • you are considered vulnerable because you have been in the armed forces, prison, custody or detention in the past,
  • you are considered vulnerable because you cannot stay at home due to violence or harassment or threats of these. This might be because of your religion, sex or ethnic origin, or for another reason,
  • you are 18 to 20 years old and you were looked after, accommodated or fostered by social services at some time when you were 16 or 17, or
  • you are 21 years old or over and you are considered vulnerable because you were looked after, accommodated or fostered by social services at any age.

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What 'in priority need' means if you live in Wales

In Wales you are in priority need if:

  • you have dependent children living with you
  • you or someone you live with is pregnant
  • you are homeless because of an emergency such as a fire, flood or other disaster
  • you or someone you live with is vulnerable because of old age, physical disability or mental illness or for another special reason
  • you are 16 or 17 years old
  • you are 18 to 20 years old and you used to be in care, or are at risk of financial or sexual exploitation,
  • you can’t stay at home, or you are at risk if you return home, because of domestic violence or threats of domestic violence,
  • you have been in the armed forces and have been homeless since you left, or
  • you have been homeless since being in prison or custody, and you have a local connection with the area you apply to.

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How does the council decide whether I am 'vulnerable'?

In deciding whether you are vulnerable, the council should consider your personal circumstances. It must decide whether you are at greater risk of harm than anyone else who is homeless.

You won't automatically be considered vulnerable just because, for example, you have health problems or have spent a long time in the army.


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Am I eligible for assistance?

Most people are eligible for assistance, including, in most cases:

  • British citizens who live in the UK
  • people from European Union (EU) countries working here, though the rules are different for people from countries that joined the EU since 2004, and
  • people who have been granted refugee status or 'indefinite leave to remain'.

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Who isn't eligible for assistance?

However, you will not normally be eligible for assistance if you are:

  • an asylum seeker, or
  • 'subject to immigration control'.

Also, if you have recently returned to the UK after living abroad, even if you are a British citizen, the council must check whether you are 'habitually resident'. If it decides you are not, you will not be eligible for assistance.


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What you can do now:

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