Whether you are already homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, there are many ways we can help you.

The information on this page is for individuals to help you find the support you need.

If you are an agency that would like to refer someone to us as homeless then please visit our Make a homeless referral page.

Use the links below to find the information you need:

Help if you are already homeless

Please read the information below to see if you qualify as homeless and for formal support from our team.

If you are not sure if you qualify as homeless after reading the information then please fill in the self-referral form anyway or contact our housing options team as there may be other ways, we can help you.

Qualifying criteria for homeless support     

To qualify for formal support under homelessness law you must be considered homeless or at risk of being made homeless in the next 56 days, be in priority need and have not made yourself intentionally homeless.

If you do not meet this criteria then it is still worth contacting our housing options team anyway, as we will always offer you advice and support on your options.

More information about the qualifying criteria can be found further down this page.

If you are from another country and unable to make a claim for benefits we may not legally be able to help you under the laws covering homelessness.

Even if we cannot provide formal assistance we will always offer you advice on how to reconnect with your country of origin or to seek legal advice to gain status in the United Kingdom.

What qualifies as homeless

You do not have to be sleeping on the streets to be considered homeless. You will be considered homeless or under threat of homelessness if:

  • You have nowhere to live in the United Kingdom or elsewhere.
  • You are afraid to go home because someone living there has been or may be violent to you or your family.
  • You have nowhere you can live together with all your family.
  • You do not have the owner's permission to stay, e.g. you are a squatter.
  • You have been locked out of your home.
  • You have somewhere to stay but it is not reasonable for you to do so, e.g. following violence, threats of violence or harassment.
  • Your home is a boat, mobile home or caravan and you have nowhere to put it.
  • You have been given Notice to Quit by your landlord.
  • You have been taken to Court by your mortgage lender for arrears and the Court has said you must leave.
  • You have been living with friends and they have asked you to leave.

If we do not consider you are homeless or are threatened with being made homeless in the next 56 days we will not offer you formal help. We will offer help and advice on your other options instead.

Priority need

To be considered in priory need you must fit the following criteria:

  • Have dependent children living with them
  • Are pregnant
  • Are a person aged between 16-17 (unless a 'relevant child', or a child in need, owed a duty under s.20 of the Children Act 1989)
  • Are under 21, and in care or fostered between the ages of 16-18
  • Are 21 or more, and vulnerable as a result of having been looked after or fostered (except for 'relevant students')
  • Are vulnerable due to old age, mental illness or handicap, or physical disability
  • Are vulnerable due to having been a member of Her Majesty's regular naval, military or air forces
  • Are vulnerable due to having been in prison
  • Are vulnerable as a result of violence from another person, or vulnerable due to another special reason
  • Are homeless due to flood, fire or other disaster

Intentionally homeless

If you are classed as having made yourself intentionally homeless then our ability to provide formal support to you will be limited. You will be classed as intentionally homeless if:

  • You chose to sell your home when there was no risk of losing it.
  • You lost your home because of wilful and persistent refusal to pay rent or mortgage payments.
  • You have neglected your affairs having disregarded advice from a qualified person.
  • You voluntarily gave up adequate accommodation in this country or abroad without first having found secure accommodation to move into, when it would have been reasonable for you to stay there.
  • You have been evicted for anti-social behaviour.
  • You have voluntarily resigned from a job with tied accommodation where circumstances indicate it would have been reasonable to continue in the employment.
  • You entered into an arrangement causing you to leave accommodation which was otherwise available to you.

When a homelessness application is made, the officer dealing with your application will check to see if you have deliberately done something or deliberately not done something that resulted in you becoming homeless.

If you are considered intentionally homeless, we may only have to provide temporary accommodation for a reasonable period of time, possibly 28 days, while you make your own arrangements to find alternative accommodation.

What happens if you meet the qualifying criteria

If we agree you do qualify as homeless, we will work closely with you for 56 days to support you to find new accommodation – this is technically known as the Relief Duty.

You will have a full assessment and Personalised Housing Plan, where we will agree on tasks that we can both do to resolve your homelessness problem.

Accommodation options could include:

  • Social housing through Housing For You
  • Housing through Wychmove, our social letting service
  • Supported Accommodation with external providers
  • Housing with family and friends if appropriate

Temporary accommodation

We will, in some cases provide temporary accommodation to homeless households. This will only happen if there is a reason to believe the household is homeless, eligible and in priority need. This is a form of emergency accommodation and is provided whilst we investigate what further help you might be entitled to.

If you are given temporary accommodation it could be a hotel, a Bed & Breakfast or other forms of shared accommodation. We will try to find accommodation in the local area but sometimes we may have to move you away from your preferred area temporarily.

Whilst we know this accommodation is not suitable long term, it is designed to safeguard you in an emergency. However, we do commit to ensuring that families with dependent children are not placed in B&B or hotel accommodation for longer than 6 weeks.

If we do not think there is a reason to believe you are homeless, eligible and in priority need, they will not place you in temporary accommodation. However, we can advise on other emergency options like friends and family.

Register yourself as homeless

If you are not yet homeless but will be within the next 56 days then you can use our online self-referral form to make a homelessness application. Otherwise please contact the housing options team [INSERT LINK TO CONTACT US PAGE]

View online self-referral form

Help if you are at risk of becoming homeless?

The Housing Team can advise you about your rights and try to help prevent you from becoming homeless.

If you are at risk of homelessness within 56 days, please use our online form to make a homelessness application or browse the information below for advice.

Use the links below to find the information you need:

My relationship with the people I live with has broken down

A Housing Needs Advisor can give you advice around your rights. We can also advocate on your behalf with friends or family to try and arrange a suitable solution to keep you in your home. We can also refer you to more specialist support as a household which may include counselling to help you resolve and mitigate against any future problems. Family and friends are a vital support system and we will do all we can to help you sustain those relationships for the future.

I am renting from a private landlord and have been served a notice to quit

A Housing Needs Advisor can check your notice to make sure it is legally compliant and explain the contents if you are not sure. We will also negotiate with your landlord to try and rescue your tenancy wherever possible. We will also outline your options for alternative accommodation which may include other Private Rented Sector Accommodation or rented accommodation through Wychmove: our social lettings agency service. Learn more about Wychmove.

Citizens Advice and Shelter also have lots of helpful online tools to make you aware of your rights.

I am a young person and my parents have asked me to leave

Young people who are at risk of homelessness will sometimes have different options to people who are slightly older because they often have not held their own tenancy before. A Housing Needs Advisor and Young Persons Pathway Worker will work with you and your parents to try and mediate and keep you in your accommodation.

The Housing Team work closely with other partners to provide specialised advice to young people on their options and access the appropriate support. Some of these may include; the YMCA or Social Services.

I am renting my home but it is not fit to live in due to disrepair

If your property is in disrepair this can be very distressing and our initial advice would be that you try to report this to your landlord so they can complete the repairs. If the landlord fails to make the property habitable, the Private Sector Housing Team will work with you and your landlord to assess the property and work to get this repaired to an appropriate standard.

To contact the Private Rented Sector Housing Team, please call 01386565000 and press Option 4 to be directed to a member of the team.

I have mortgage arrears and I'm at risk of losing my house

Mortgage arrears are considered on a case by case basis. Housing Needs Advisors will support you to seek financial advice from our Financial Inclusion as well as specialist legal advice where appropriate.
Citizens Advice can also advise on mortgage arrears. They operate drop in services in Malvern, Evesham and Droitwich.

I have rent arrears and am at risk of losing my home

The Housing Options Team can give you personal advice and refer you to other agencies who may be able to help. They may also be able to assist you to apply for benefits or may be able to speak to your landlord to help prevent you from becoming homeless.

If you cannot pay your rent, you have missed rent payments or you are worried that your payments are not being made, sort things out as soon as you can. Even if you have other debts, make sure you deal with your rent arrears first.

Things to do to help you get back on track

Make a list of all your debts and identify the most important that you need to tackle first such as your rent, council tax, gas, water and electricity charges.

Write down all your income and expenses and work out a personal household budget to help you decide how much you can afford to pay to each of the people you owe money to.

Consider seeking advice from a debt advice agency such as National Debtline or Stepchange. You can also organise an appointment with our Financial Inclusion Officer who can support you with localised advice.

Most importantly, talk to your landlord - try to reach an agreement about paying off the arrears, but do not agree to pay more than you can afford.

I have received a summons calling me to court about a housing matter

It is very important that you attend court in order to make the judge fully aware of your personal circumstances. Housing Advisors can support you to understand what might happen in court and what your options are.

My home is no longer suitable because of an illness or disability

If you are a Housing Association Tenant, you should contact your Housing Officer at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss transfer opportunities or possible adaptations to your home.

If you own your own home or rent a property private, please contact Adult Social Care at Worcestershire County Council.

Help if you are fleeing domestic abuse

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence 24 hour helpline on 0808 2000 247.

If you are fleeing Domestic Abuse, we have a duty to support you to flee to emergency accommodation. This might be a Refuge or Interim Accommodation until we can work together to develop a permanent housing plan for you. Some options could include social housing, private rented accommodation or supported accommodation, depending on your circumstances.

Domestic Abuse is an incredibly scary and distressing situation. Housing Needs Advisors can support you to get the right support so you can work through the emotional impact of Domestic Abuse.

Support might include help from services like the National Domestic Abuse helpline website or Women's Aid website. This might also include local support services like the Dawn Project. Visit Domestic Abuse Working Network page on Worcester Community Trust website.

You can also see our dedicated Domestic abuse support page for more advice and support.

Help if you are a care leaver and homeless

Depending on your age and circumstances, we can help you with your accommodation and finances, as well as advice on how to live independently.

To qualify for the most help, you must have spent a total of 13 weeks in care from the age of 14. This must include at least a day when you were 16 or 17.

Help from the council's children’s services department can start when you turn 16 and last until you’re 21, or until you finish training or higher education.

As a care leaver aged between 18 and 20, you’ll be in priority need for emergency housing from the council’s housing department if you’re facing homelessness.

This applies even if you spent as little as 1 night in care when you were 16 or 17.

If you’re a 16 or 17-year-old care leaver and are homeless, the council will probably refer you to social services. But the housing department must provide you with emergency accommodation until children’s services can find you somewhere to live.

Help if you are or have previously been in the Armed Forces and are homeless

The government has made a commitment to support ex-forces. It is committed to ensuring that service personnel, veterans and their families have the support they need and are treated with the dignity they deserve.

To deliver this commitment, the Armed Forces Covenant outlines the positive measures being taken by government to ensure that the Armed forces community face no disadvantage, compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services.

View Armed Forces Covenant website

Help if you are about to leave hospital and have nowhere to go

You should tell the hospital nursing staff as soon as possible, so that they know that you will be homeless when you are discharged. They will ask the hospital discharge team to help if they can.

The discharge team may refer you to our housing advice team. We will assess your situation and you may be offered temporary accommodation in certain circumstances. If you are within 56 days of discharge, and have no home to return to, our housing options team will support you whilst we decide if we have a duty to re-house you. We’ll also offer you advice and support.

Help if you are about to leave prison and have nowhere to go

If you in prison and don’t have anywhere to go when you are released, you should let the prison team know as soon as possible. Most prisons have a housing advice and resettlement service called Through the Gate which is set up to help you find a suitable housing option when you are released from prison.

You can also apply for the grants before release; these include a £46.00 discharge grant or a £50 grant towards your first nights accommodation. You should let the prison team know as soon as possible if you want to access this.

If you are not allowed to stay at your old address because of your offence, prison staff may refer you to the Bail Accommodation Support Scheme who will help you find an address that is suitable. You can also contact NACRO’s Resettlement Advice Line on 03001231999 for further advice.

Our Housing Advisors will support you to understand both your emergency and long term options. We will work closely with probation and prison teams to support you to find a suitable accommodation offer.

Help if you are over 55 and are homeless or threatened with being made homeless

If you are over the age of 55, you are eligible to apply for accommodation that is sheltered. Sheltered housing is accommodation specifically designed for older people to allow them to live independently.

It usually consists of self-contained flats with communal facilities. In most cases, it’s available to people aged over 60, although some schemes may be open to those over 55 years old. When used exclusively for older people, it’s sometimes called retirement housing. If the accommodation is part of a care home complex, it's also known as close care.

Housing Advisors will support you to apply for Sheltered Accommodation via our Housing Register, Home Choice Plus. You can read some more information on how this works on the Home Choice Plus website.