Help if you’re homeless: Gypsies and Travellers

Get help finding somewhere to live if you're a Gypsy or Traveller and you are homeless.

If you're homeless

You could be homeless for a number of reasons including if you:

  • face eviction from your pitch, encampment or tenancy
  • have nowhere to legally park your mobile home
  • need to leave your home due to violence

Help from the council

You can apply to any council for help if you're homeless or at risk of losing your home or pitch within 8 weeks.

The council must carry out an assessment of your housing needs.

They will then draw up a personal housing plan that sets out the steps you and the council must take to help your keep your home or pitch. If this isn't possible, it will outline ways you and the council can try to find you somewhere new.

Emergency accommodation

The council must arrange emergency accommodation if it thinks you might be homeless, in priority need and meet immigration and residence conditions.

It must provide accommodation for you and anyone who usually lives with you as a member of your family.

What you can be offered

If you qualify for emergency or longer-term housing, the council must try to find you a suitable pitch or accommodation within the area. If there is nothing available locally it could place you elsewhere.

Many Gypsies and Travellers want somewhere they can park up and live legally. The council must consider your cultural needs and lifestyle when deciding what is suitable.

If a suitable pitch is not available, the council will probably offer you 'bricks and mortar' accommodation. In the short-term this could be a bed & breakfast or homeless hostel. In the longer-term it could be a self-contained flat or house.  

If accommodation is unsuitable

You can only challenge the suitability of emergency accommodation in court with the help of a solicitor. It would have to be very unsuitable for a legal challenge to succeed.  

You can ask for a review of the suitability of longer-term housing within 21 days of receiving an offer from the council. You should accept the offer and then ask for a review as you may not get another offer if your review is unsuccessful.

Still need help?

For more help and advice:

Contact a Shelter adviser online or by phone

The following organisations provide specialist advice for Gypsies and Travellers:

Community Law Partnership Travellers Advice Team
0121 685 8677
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
Out of hours emergency number 07768 316755
Friends, Families and Travellers
01273 234 777
10am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday

Last updated - 03 Apr 2018

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