Apply for homeless help

Help we can offer

We can help you if you’re:

  • currently homeless
  • at risk of becoming homeless

If you’re at risk of becoming homeless we may be able to help you stay in your current home or help you to find somewhere else to live. Contact us if your landlord or someone that you’re staying with has asked you to leave.

If you’re homeless we can help you to find somewhere to live. We may be able to:

  • provide you with emergency housing
  • help you to find somewhere to stay if you have nowhere to go
  • provide you with support to secure permanent housing

Apply for homeless help

Find out how to apply with our step-by-step guide:

  • Anyone in Hackney who finds themselves homeless or at risk of homelessness can approach us for help.

    It’s important that you ask for help as soon as you can. You should not wait to become homeless before asking for help.

    The level of help we can offer depends on your individual circumstances. If you’re subject to immigration control the help that’s offered may be limited to advice and information.

  • There are two ways to contact us:

    • telephone – 020 8356 2929. 
    • in person at the Hackney Service Centre, 1 Hillman Street, E8 1DY

    Our opening hours:

    • 9am to 5pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
    • 9am to 4pm on Wednesday

    Outside of our opening hours, you can call 020 8356 2300.

    When you contact us, we ask you some questions, so we can understand:

    • who is in your household
    • the reason you’re approaching for help
    • where you’ve been living

    It’s likely we will then book you an appointment to meet with a Homeless Prevention Officer. We usually give you a list of documents you need to bring to the appointment.

    If you have nowhere to stay that night and have children in your household or are vulnerable then we may be able to offer you emergency housing. We cannot offer emergency housing to everyone homeless. Any emergency housing we offer is likely to be outside of Hackney and possibly outside of London.

  • Make sure you have all the documents you were asked to bring. 

    It’s useful if you bring to your appointment:

    • identity documents for you and your household such as your passport or your birth certificate
    • your address history for the last five years
    • medical information if you have health problems
    • information about your income and any savings you have

    If you’re currently threatened with homelessness it’s also useful to bring:

    • proof of your current address such as your tenancy agreement or a bill or bank statement with your address on it
    • evidence of why you have to leave your home, for example an eviction notice or a letter from the person that you are staying with
  • Your appointment is with a Homeless Prevention Officer. 

    We talk to you about your reason for approaching for help. 

    Before we can decide the next steps we need to gather information from you. This is important to determine your eligibility and the type of help that is available to you. We will ask you questions including about your household and your current and former housing, we will take copies of the documents that you have provided.

    We may need to contact your current landlord, or the person that you are staying with, if you’ve been asked to leave.

    We decide if we have a duty to provide you with interim accommodation while we investigate your circumstances. Any accommodation that is offered will likely be outside of Hackney and may be outside of London.

    We do not have a duty to offer you interim accommodation if you’re eligible and homeless but not in priority need. 

    We may try to find you short-term accommodation such as by referring you to a hostel. Many hostels have waiting lists and it may not be possible to find you accommodation on the day.

  • We make enquiries to work out how best to help you. This may be a quick process or it could take some time because the law requires us to gather certain information. 

    When we’ve made our enquiries we let you know in writing if we have a legal duty to help you. 

    It doesn’t mean, if we owe you a Prevention or Relief duty, you will get a social home. We will help you to find a privately rented home in an affordable area of the country.

    Prevention Duty

    If we owe you a Prevention Duty, we:

    • work with you to try and prevent you from becoming homeless
    • may help you to stay in your current home or help you to find somewhere else to move to

    Relief Duty

    If we owe you a Relief Duty, we:

    • work with you to try to relieve your homelessness
    • work with you to try and find you somewhere suitable to live
    • help you with issues such as raising deposits to secure a home or claiming benefits to help you to pay your rent
    • work with you for up to 56 days if we owe you a Relief Duty or until you secure accommodation, whichever comes first. If after 56 days you haven’t been able to secure accommodation then we’ll assess whether you are owed the main housing duty.

    Personal Housing Plan

    If we owe you either a Prevention or Relief duty we work with you to create a Personal Housing Plan with steps to help you. 

    This written plan explains what steps we will take to help you and the steps that you need to complete. It’s important that you complete the steps in the plan. If you don’t complete the steps listed in the plan then we may discharge our duty towards you. 

    The Personal Housing Plan may contain:

    • required steps – actions that you need to take for us to help you such as looking for privately rented property or creating a rent arrears repayment arrangement with your landlord. If you don’t take the required steps and we consider this to be deliberate and unreasonable we can end any Prevention of Relief duty that we owe to you.
    • recommended steps – actions that we think will help you but they aren’t a requirement. This could include recommendations to approach an organisation for help with employment, mediation services or debt advice.

    If we don’t owe you a Prevention or a Relief Duty we will provide you with advice and information to help you.

    The National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS) has produced a flow chart providing an overview of the steps that we follow when someone applies for help as homeless – Applying as homeless flowchart (PDF 61kb)

Request a review if you disagree with a decision

If you disagree with a decision you’re able to request a review of that decision. You normally need to make the request within 21 days of getting your decision.

You can request a review of most decisions including:

  • a decision about whether you are homeless, eligible, in priority need or intentionally homeless
  • the reasonable steps that were included in your Personal Housing Plan
  • a decision about ending the Prevention, Relief or main housing duties

For more information, see the housing charity SHELTER – challenge a council decision.

Request a review via email, or in writing:

London Borough of Hackney
Hackney Service Centre
Benefits and Homeless Prevention Service
Housing Advice/Homeless Team
1 Hillman Street, Hackney
E8 1DY

Our strategies and policies

We’re doing all we can to reduce homelessness.

See homelessness strategies and policies

Page updated on: 5 January 2024

Homeless Prevention and Advice


Hackney Service Centre
1 Hillman Street
E8 1DY


Opening times

  • Monday 9am to 5pm, Tuesday 9am to 5pm, Wednesday 9am to 4pm, Thursday 9am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 5pm