Homelessness means being without a safe and secure place to live. This could be for many different reasons, including if you are unsafe in your family home.
People who are homeless can face a lot of difficult circumstances, and sometimes find themselves in dangerous situations to try to ‘get by’. To make sure you can keep yourself safe, it’s important that you ask for help as soon as possible.
If you are homeless now (you don’t have a safe and secure place to stay), or you are at risk of homelessness, you can ask your local council for help. Someone will talk with you to find out about your situation. The kind of help you’ll be offered depends on your circumstances.
The council will always try to prevent you from becoming homeless if possible. This might include things like offering you and your family some help so you can stay at home. If you’re facing eviction, it’s also a good idea to get some legal advice from Shelter Cymru.
If you are 16 or 17
If you are 16 or 17 and you become homeless, your council has a legal duty to help you. This will usually include finding a safe place for you to stay. They will also offer you some support, to help keep you safe and plan for your future.
If you are 18 or over
If you are a care leaver, the council’s duty to find you a safe place to stay will usually continue until you are 21, or 25 if you are in full-time education. There are also other reasons the council may still have this duty, including if you have serious health problems. Talk to someone to find out what help you’re entitled to.
If the council doesn’t have a statutory duty to provide you with accommodation, they will still offer you some help if you are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
This might include some advice and support to prevent you becoming homeless, or helping you to look for suitable accommodation.
You will need to think about what kind of accommodation is right for you, and what you can afford. Remember:
- Even if the council has a duty to find accommodation for you, it doesn’t mean you are entitled to social housing – you might be offered suitable private rented accommodation.
- If you are under 35, you may only be entitled to the lower ‘shared room’ rate of Housing Benefit.
- If you are 18-21 and you start a new benefit claim from 1 April 2017, you won’t automatically be entitled to the housing element of Universal Credit (previously known as Housing Benefit).
- It’s important to get the right advice about what you’re entitled to before making any decisions.