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No local connection

To have a local connection you must:

  • have lived in the area for six months out of the past 12, or three years out of the past five
  • have close family who have lived in the area for at least five years (this is usually your mother, father, siblings or grown up children, but you will not have a local connection where dependant children live if this is different to where you live)
  • work in the area part or full time

You may have a local connection if you were brought up in the area by a family member like an aunt, uncle or grandparent.

If you don't have a local connection

If we decide you don't have a connection in our area, we will consider if you have a connection to another council's area. We can refer you to that council for help, but only if your household is not at risk of violence there.

We should not refer you to another area if you only have a local connection due to family but you do not want to live near your relatives.

We will refer you to another area when we can, but we may decide not to.

If you don't have a local connection anywhere the council you apply to must help.

Which council should you apply to?

You can apply to any council for help as homeless. You could have a local connection with more than one area, so it is important to choose carefully which council you apply to.

Your strongest ties could be in areas:

  • where you have already lived
  • somewhere you have family
  • somewhere that is close to where you work or once worked

If there is risk of violence in another area

We are not allowed to refer you to another council's area if you or anyone in your household would be at risk of violence there.

You can be referred to another area where your household is not at risk of violence, as long as you have a local connection.

If there is no other area that you can be referred to, the council you have applied to must help.

What happens if you are sent to another council for help?

If the council you apply to decides you don't have a local connection with its area but you do with another area, it must send you a letter telling you:

  • it has decided to send you to another council
  • its reasons
  • that you have a right to request a review of the decision within 21 days

When the council you are referred to finds suitable temporary accommodation you have to move there.

Until this happens they have to:

  • make sure you have somewhere to stay or provide you with emergency accommodation
  • protect your personal belongings (if it is already doing so)

The other council will provide you with longer term housing.

If the other council says that it doesn't have to help

If this happens, the council you applied to must continue to make sure that you have somewhere to live until the disagreement is resolved.

If you do not want to go to another area

If you are referred to another area but you do not want to go, get advice immediately.  An advisor can:

  • check if the decision was correct
  • check if you had a good case for getting the decision changed
  • help you challenge the decision
  • explain your alternative housing options

Use Shelter's directory to find face to face advice services.