Local Authority or Social Housing
Local authorities (or housing authorities) are the main providers of social housing for people who cannot afford their own accommodation. Local authority housing is allocated according to eligibility and need. Rents are based on the household’s ability to pay.
The first step is to apply to the local authority for housing, they will consider whether you are eligible first of all and if so then you may be assessed as to your housing need.
The main criteria for assessment are that your household income is below a set maximum threshold and also that you do not have suitable alternative accommodation.
Alternative accommodation may be considered as such if you have a property that you could live in, even if you currently do not because it is rented out.
A property will not be regarded as alternative accommodation if it is occupied by someone who is divorced or separated from a member of the household, or whose civil partnership with a household member has been dissolved. A couple does not have to be judicially separated in order for this to apply. A deed of separation is sufficient.
There are extensive waiting lists for social housing but if you are considered as in housing need by a local authority then you may be able to apply for Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) to help towards the cost of renting a house privately.
Some voluntary housing providers provide social housing and tenants must usually be registered as in housing need with their local authority to be eligible for voluntary housing. Some housing associations provide housing for certain target groups such as the elderly or people with disabilities whilst others provide for general needs housing.
Threshold is an organisation specialising in housing and they have a helpline you might like to phone; they also offer information on their website.
They currently offer videocalls with housing advisors rather than in person.