General information on homelessness

The legal definition of homelessness

There are many different situations that might mean that you are homeless or threatened with homelessness. You don’t have to be rough sleeping to be considered homeless.
It may be because of one of the following reasons:

  • You're at risk of losing your home – this could be through the form of a notice from your landlord or if your landlord is living with you, your contract has come to an end
  • You are staying with friends or 'sofa surfing' and they have asked you to leave
  • You're at risk of violence or abuse where you are living. This can be from a partner, ex-partner, family member, or somebody else. Domestic abuse is not limited to physical violence or confined to instances within the home. Domestic abuse is any incident or a pattern of incidents of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (which includes physical, psychological, sexual, financial or emotional abuse).
  • You are ‘roofless’ – this could mean that you are street homeless or rough sleeping
  • You can't afford to stay where you are
  • You've been locked out of your properly or you have been illegally evicted
  • Your accommodation is in a very poor condition
  • Your relationship has broken down with your partner or close family and you cannot continue to live there
  • You have nowhere to put your houseboat or caravan

Emergency housing

Not everyone is entitled to emergency housing when homeless. We must decide if you qualify for emergency housing if you ask for help when homeless.

To qualify for emergency housing, we must have reason to believe that you may:

  • Be likely to qualify for housing assistance under immigration and residence rules (this is called being eligible for assistance)
  • Be homeless now (by way of the legal definitions provided above)
  • Have a priority need for housing (this could be from having children under the age of 18, having serious medical conditions or another reason that makes you particularly vulnerable)

Emergency housing that we offer could be in the form of bed and breakfast (B&B), a homeless hostel or a self-contained flat or house.

We will consider your personal circumstances including travel time to work, disruption to children's education and caring responsibilities. However, you may be placed in emergency accommodation outside of Brent if there is a shortage of available accommodation.

You can make an application to receive further advice and information about your housing issue. To make an application, you will need access to a computer and have a number of details to hand to complete an online application. To make an application please register on our Brent customer portal.