day centres and hostels
Who can help?
Getting advice about homelessness and housing problems
There are several services that can give you specialist advice and support if you are homeless or about to become homeless:
- Your council has a duty to give advice to homeless people and provide housing or other support to some homeless people who are in "priority need" of housing. To find your local council's housing department go to Search all services and select Housing department from the Service options and your Area.
- Independent advice services also give advice on housing rights and homelessness. To find all local homelessness advice services (including council services) select Homeless advice from the Service options and select your Area on Search all services.
- Shelter's Free Housing Advice Helpline is a national service giving advice and information about homelessness and housing problems from 8am-8pm on weekdays and 8am-5pm on weekends.
- Citizens Advice Bureaux can give advice on a range of subjects including housing, benefits and debt. To find your local CAB go to Search all services and select Citizens Advice Bureau from the Service options and your Area.
- Day centres offer shelter during the day for homeless people and rough sleepers. They provide advice and practical help which may include meals, showers, laundry and medical services. To find day centres go to Search all services and select Day centre from the Service options, Homeless people from the Person options and your Area.
Hostels for homeless people
There are several types of hostel and housing project (see Types of accommodation on Homeless UK for a full explanation of them).
Many hostels no longer take self referrals. Some only take referrals from named agencies (such as council housing departments and street outreach teams) so it's best to get help and advice first from one of the service types listed above.
See How do I get into a hostel? for further information on getting into hostels.
Help with related issues
If you need urgent advice on other issues related to homelessness contact one of these helplines:
- Childline Children and young people in danger or distress.
- Drinkline Alcohol problems.
- FRANK Drug or solvent problems.
- National Domestic Violence Helpline (England), Northern Ireland Women's Aid - 24 Hour Domestic Violence Helpline, Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline, Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline Women experiencing domestic violence.
- Runaway Helpline Children and young people who have run away or been forced to leave home.
- Samaritans Emotional support for anyone in distress or despair.
- SANELINE Mental health problems.
These websites have lots of useful information on your options and rights if you are homeless.