Series 1 Episode 3
First Broadcast: 9PM Thu 15 August 2013

This episode focuses on Tower Hamlets' Homeless service, the A & E of the council's housing department. Every year, 3300 people come here claiming to be in urgent need of a new home.

The range of stories is unexpected and heart-breaking, from a woman claiming she accidentally burnt her house down with a pound shop lighter, to a mother who claims her son is sleeping in a cupboard and a father who brings in his disabled son to announce he is evicting him.

Surprisingly, if you are homeless in Britain today you may not be entitled to any help at all. Local councils have a legal duty to find housing for some people, but only if they fall into a priority group.

With a severe shortage of council housing, they are forced to place those who do qualify for housing into expensive temporary accommodation and private rented flats.

It is up to a team of over-stretched housing officers to work out who is and isn't telling the truth about their situation, who should be given help and who should be turned away.

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How to Get a Council House on Channel4.com

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How do councils cope with a lack of properties and a surplus of people in need of homes with affordable rent?

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