If you have nowhere to stay tonight
You might be able to get a place to stay in a hostel, night shelter, refuge or bed and breakfast if you're homeless. If you’ve been rough sleeping and you’re not a British citizen your right to stay in the UK might be affected. Talk to an adviser if you’re worried that rough sleeping might affect your immigration status. If you’re applying to the EU Settlement Scheme, your application cannot be turned down because of rough sleeping.
To find somewhere to stay ask your local council for contact details of hostels, night shelters, refuges and bed and breakfasts.
Rough sleeping Immigration Rule
The government’s Immigration Rule says that rough sleepers may have their permission to stay in the UK refused or cancelled. The government have said it intends to use this rule ‘sparingly’ but it’s unclear what this will mean in practice. They cannot use rough sleeping as a reason to refuse applications to stay in the UK made on the basis of:
asylum or protection (except children resettled from Europe)
family life - partners and their children, adult dependent relatives, and parents of settled children
They also cannot use rough sleeping as a reason to refuse applications to the EU Settlement Scheme.
If your client has been rough sleeping and discloses this information to their local council when seeking housing or financial help, the local council could tell the Home Office. The Home Office might then use this information against them in future applications or to cancel their existing leave. For EU, EEA and Swiss nationals it is most likely that this rule will be used for people arriving after 31 December 2020.
The rough sleeping Immigration Rule might be used against people with 'leave outside the rules' or 'discretionary leave', but only in exceptional circumstances. They may be allowed to use public funds and so can access homelessness help and social housing. 'Leave outside the rules' or 'discretionary leave' is most often given to refused asylum seekers who have other reasons for remaining, such as medical treatment.
Coronavirus - if you’re sleeping outside or in a shelter where you can’t self-isolate
Your local council might help you now, even if you wouldn’t usually be entitled to help. Ask your council how they can help - you can find their contact details on GOV.UK.
If you've been asked to leave your emergency housing
You might still be able to get help.
You should ask your council if you can stay in your emergency housing. You can check if you might now be considered ‘in priority need’ for accommodation because of coronavirus.
If your council still asks you to leave, you should ask what their policy is for helping rough sleepers. The government have said they’re working with local councils to keep people in housing - that includes making more funding available to support rough sleepers.
You can find your local council's contact details on GOV.UK.
You should first check if you can get emergency housing from your local council.
You'II usually have to pay to stay in most types accommodation. If you're on a low income or benefits you can get help with your rent costs.
Getting a place in a refuge
If you can’t stay in your home because of violence, threats or any other abuse, it’s best to try to get a place in a refuge. They can help to keep you safe because they don’t advertise their address details. You can also get specialist advice and support.
You can arrange to get a place in a refuge by contacting:
Calls to these numbers are free.
If you don't want to call the refuge yourself you can be referred by your local council. You could also ask your nearest Citizens Advice to refer you.
Getting a place in a hostel or night shelter
As well as getting contact details of hostels and night shelters from your local council, you can also search for somewhere to stay on the Homeless Link site.
You'll usually need to be referred to a hostel or night shelter by an advice or support agency. Contact your nearest Citizens Advice to see if they can refer you
Some places will let you call or walk-in to book a place - it’s best to call first to check if you can visit to book a place.
Other help you can get
- hot meals
Your nearest Citizens Advice can also check if you can claim benefits and help you find longer-term housing.