Applying for social housing in England

What is social housing?

Local councils and housing associations offer affordable accommodation for rent, which is known as social housing. Applicants must join a waiting list to be considered, as social housing is often in high demand.

Visit Shelter's website for more information about social housing and waiting lists.

See more from Shelter:

How to apply for social housing

To apply, you should contact your local council to register on their waiting list. Applicants with priority need may be placed higher on the list, and not everyone who applies will be eligible. Priority need includes people who:

  • Have serious disabilities or medical conditions.
  • Are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless.
  • Are living in property that is unsafe or unfit.
  • Need to be near family or carers.
  • If your circumstances are considered urgent, you may be housed quicker.

    Eligibility and priority for veterans

    As part of the Armed Forces Covenant agreement, veterans may be given priority support for social housing.

    When joining a waiting list, you may be placed higher, depending on the council and availability of suitable homes. Visit Shelter's website for a list of priority need groups in England, and to see if you qualify under more than one group.

    Who can help?

    Haig Housing Trust

    Haig Housing Trust is the UK's largest charity providing housing to Veterans in need. It offers general needs rental housing for ex-Service people with over 1500 properties across the United Kingdom in over 50 different local authority areas. For more information:

    Telephone: 020 8685 5777 and ask for housing options,
    Website: Haig Housing


    Shelter provides expert advice and support with accessing social housing. They offer assistance with applications and advice about priority need regarding your circumstances. Contact:

    Telephone: 0808 800 4444
    Website: Shelter

    Veterans' Gateway - Access to Housing Advice

    The Veterans' Housing Advice service, initially provided by the Cobseo group of charities, and delivered by The Royal British Legion, Connect Assist and Shelter, has now been merged into Veterans' Gateway. The service is accessible 24/7 and supported by a resident housing specialist located at the Contact Centre.

    The team aim to support veterans in finding, securing or maintaining accommodation by utilising the skills and resources of the Cobseo Housing Cluster, local authority contacts and other housing providers. Information can be accessed by telephone, email, live chat, social media, and on the website by visiting Veterans' Gateway/Self Help/Housing.

    For more information, contact:
    Telephone: 0808 802 1212 (Freephone 24/7)
    Email: Via contact form
    Website: Veterans' Gateway/Self Help. Please select housing to see all options.

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