You don’t have to be sleeping rough to be legally homeless. You might even have a roof over your head at the moment, but if your home is unsuitable for your needs, unsafe or you have no legal right to stay there, e.g. you are living in a squat, you could be legally classed as homeless.
You may have found yourself homeless because you have been evicted, lost your job, had your property damaged, e.g. in a fire or flood, or had relationship or health problems.
You can also be classed as homeless if you are:
- living in very overcrowded conditions
- at risk of violence or abuse where you live
- staying with friends on a temporary basis
- staying in a hostel or a bed and breakfast establishment
- living in conditions that affect your health, e.g. damp housing
- forced to live apart from your family because your home isn’t suitable.
The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 places a stronger duty on local councils to prevent homelessness. Under this new legislation, your local housing department might have a duty to help you if you are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless in the next 56 days. The kind of help you are entitled to depends on your circumstances but will almost certainly include advice and help at an early stage.
NB In local authority areas where the housing stock has been transferred to a housing association, it remains the legal responsibility of the local council to look into your situation and see how it might be able to help you.