Renting from a council or housing association is also called 'social housing', 'public housing', or 'not-for-profit housing'.
Rents in not-for-profit housing tend to be lower than in private renting, although the gap is closing. Tenants usually have more security, with long-term tenancy agreements, rights of succession (to pass on the home to family members when they die), and legal protection.
But there's a big demand for this type of housing which means it can take a long time. Generally, the more urgent your need-to-move, the better your chance of a home. Some rehousing rules also give more priority to those who make a contribution to the community.
Some housing is reserved for people over a certain age, to reduce the problems caused by conflicting lifestyles. In some areas you can get a home quickly if you are an older person, but may have to wait much longer if you are young.