Providing Advice and Assistance to single homeless people

Last updated: 
Who should use this guidance?: 
Local Authorities, homelessness providers

Housing Options is often the first service to which people turn when they are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Regardless of whether the main homelessness duty is owed, local authorities are still obliged to provide homeless people with advice and assistance to help them find accommodation for themselves - including a full and comprehensive assessment of their housing needs. Proper advice and assistance has considerable potential to prevent homelessness, including rough sleeping.

This template letter should be used by local authorities as a basis for the advice and assistance they give to single homeless people – whether they have made an application or not. It is designed to prompt local authorities to: provide wide-ranging, comprehensive advice and assistance which is tailored to an individual’s needs; and record the advice and assistance given, as well as the further actions and support offered by the Council and other relevant agencies so that individuals can take it away to other agencies.

The accompanying guidance will help in using this letter as a tool engage with individuals and offer relevant, timely advice and assistance.

Homelessness agencies should be aware of this letter so they can prepare their clients to expect this, or something very similar, when they approach a local authority for help.

We are grateful to Shelter and Crisis for their contributions to this template.