Help if you are homeless

Finding yourself with nowhere to live or the risk of being made homeless is both frightening and stressful. Southwark Council wants to help you by preventing homelessness from occurring wherever possible so that you can avoid the worry of this difficult situation.

It is advisable to make contact with Southwark Council's Housing Option Advisors if you are worried about being made homeless within 28 days. Housing Option Advisors can be contacted on 0207 525 5950 or on

While Southwark Council tries to help everybody who approaches with homelessness, however sometimes there isn't enough resources available to provide temporary or emergency accommodation. 

For more information about your rights and our responsibilities or for independent advice see the Shelter website.

Are you intentionally homeless?

What 'intentionally homeless' means: being intentionally homeless means that you are homeless because you left an accommodation that you could have stayed in. If your last home was temporary or short-term, the council looks into the reasons you left your last 'settled home'.

When deciding if you are or aren't intentionally homeless, the council must consider the reasons you became homeless. It's up to the council to prove that you became homeless intentionally and that:

  • You did, or failed to do, something that caused you to leave your home
  • The act, or failure to act, was deliberate or you were aware of what was going on
  • It was reasonable for you to continue living in your accommodation

You have the right to explain your actions to the council in relation to your housing situation.

Some examples of making yourself intentionally homeless includes:

  • Not paying your rent when you could have - however not being able to pay your mortgage because of significant financial difficulties that were out of your control i.e illness and redundancy will not be considered as intentional. 
  • Evicted because of antisocial behaviour
  • You could have stayed in your accommodation

When you are not intentionally homeless?

If you acted in good faith or weren't aware of something that caused you to become homeless, the council should accept that it's not intentional.

For example if:

  • you left your accommodation because you didn't know you had a right to stay, for example you left your home because your landlord gave you notice even though you could have stayed until a possession order was issued
  • you left your home because of misleading advice
  • someone you live with did or didn't do something, for example a family member you live with didn't pay the rent but they told you they had

The council decides you are intentionally homeless

If the council decides that you intentionally caused your homelessness, it only has a duty to provide you with short-term accommodation, usually for 28 days.

For more information visit Shelter's website.

The council decides you're not intentionally homeless

If the council decides that you are not intentionally homeless, it probably has a duty to provide you with long-term accommodation.