EU citizens: Help from the council if you're homeless

New rules from 1 July 2021 affect who can get homeless help from the council.

Who can get homeless help

The council checks that you meet the immigration and residence conditions for help. This is sometimes called being 'eligible for assistance'.

Main rules for EU citizens from 1 July 2021

You can get homeless help if you're an Irish citizen or have settled status in the UK.

You may be able to get homeless help if you have pre-settled status but you will have to meet extra conditions. Find out more about the conditions on this page.

You may be able to get homeless help if you applied to the EU settlement scheme by 30 June 2021 and are still waiting for your application to be processed.

You're unlikely to qualify for homeless help if you moved here after 31 December 2020 unless you're an Irish citizen or have settled or pre-settled status.

Rules for EU citizens also apply to citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Irish citizens

You have the right to live in the UK without restrictions. The date you moved here won't usually matter.

You don't need settled or pre-settled status to get homeless help.

You qualify for homeless help as long as you're 'habitually resident'.

The council should accept your passport as proof of status.

Find out about habitual residence if you've recently returned from living abroad.

Settled status

You should have a Home Office email which confirms your status.

You should also be able to view and prove your immigration status on GOV.UK

You qualify for homeless help as long as you're 'habitually resident'.

As most EU citizens with settled status have lived in the UK for at least 5 years, you will usually meet this condition automatically.

The council should accept the Home Office email as confirmation of your status if they need to provide emergency housing while they look into your situation.

Pre-settled status

You should have a Home Office email which confirms your status.

You should also be able to view and prove your immigration status on GOV.UK

Proof of pre-settled status may not be enough to qualify for homeless help.

Extra conditions if you have pre-settled status

You will need to show that you're in one of the following situations:

  • working or self employed

  • unable to work because of ill health

  • pregnant or have recently given birth

  • looking for work after working in the UK

  • living with a child at school in the UK

This applies even though the Court of Appeal has ruled that the extra conditions for people with pre-settled status are are unlawful.

This is because the government is appealing to the Supreme Court.

Working or self employed

You can get homeless help if you have 'worker or self employed status' in the UK under EU law.

The council looks at the number of hours you work and how much you earn, but you don't have to be in full time work or earn a set amount.

You can still qualify if, for example:

  • you're furloughed

  • you work part time hours

  • you're on a zero hours contract

  • you need to claim benefits to top up your income

Can't work because of ill health

You can usually get homeless help if you've worked in the UK but can't work at the moment because of illness or an accident.

This could include a longer term health condition or disability, but you may need to show that you're likely to be able to work again in the foreseeable future.

Pregnant or recently given birth

You can get homeless help if you're on maternity leave from your job or self employment.

You can also get help if you have to give up your job or looking for work in the late stages of pregnancy or because you've given birth recently.

Looking for work

You could still qualify for help if you lose your job or become unemployed in the UK.

But you should register with Jobcentre Plus and start looking for work as soon as you can.

Children in school

You might qualify for help if a child who lives with you is at school in the UK.

Your child must have lived in the UK while you or their other parent was an EU worker. You don't need to be working now.

Contact a Shelter adviser if you meet these conditions but the council won't help.

Family members of EU citizens

You should qualify for homeless help if you have settled status under the EU settlement scheme or have pre-settled status and can show you meet the extra conditions.

You don't have to be an EU citizen yourself.

Contact a Shelter adviser if you're not sure if the council should help.

If your application to the EU settlement scheme is still being processed

You have temporary protection while the EU settlement scheme processes your application.

You may still be able to get homeless help at the moment if you can show you:

  • were legally resident in the UK by 31 December 2020

  • applied to the EU settlement scheme by 30 June 2021

You will need to show that you meet one of the extra pre-settled status conditions unless you can show that you've lived here legally and continuously for at least 5 years.

Contact a Shelter adviser if you meet these conditions but the council won't help.

Need immigration advice?

Shelter can't provide immigration advice but there are other charities who could help.

Citizens Advice can help with immigration problems or refer you to a specialist adviser. You can also find immigration advice on their website.

The Roma Support Group offers phone appointments for Roma families and individuals.

The AIRE Centre has advice on rights for European citizens.

Contact Settled if you have more questions about the EU settlement scheme.

The EU settlement scheme closed for applications on 30 June 2021.

Find out more about staying in the UK from Citizens Advice


Last updated: 30 June 2021

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