Help if you’re homeless: EU citizens in the UK

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

Help from a local council

Options for help when you're homeless are affected by your immigration status in the UK.

Many EU citizens living here by 31 December 2020 will continue to qualify for benefits and homeless help from the council after Brexit.

But you won't usually be able to get help if you came to live in the UK after 31 December 2020 unless you're an Irish citizen or have settled status.

Find out more about the new rules for EU citizens

Other emergency options

You may be able to stay in a:

You usually need to be able to claim benefits in the UK to stay in a hostel for homeless people. Bed and breakfasts may ask for cash up front.

Night shelters are often free but offer very basic accommodation.

If you're a woman experiencing domestic abuse, you may be able to find a refuge space

Other longer term options

Other renting options may include:

  • private hostels

  • renting from a private landlord

  • applying for a council or housing association home

Help to pay rent

Irish citizens and other EU citizens with settled status may be able to get the universal credit housing element once you've found somewhere to live.

You might also be able to get universal credit if you were living in UK by 31 December 2020 and have pre-settled status or would qualify for it.

The EU settlement scheme

Shelter can't provide immigration advice or help with EU settlement but other charities can.

Roma Support Group offer phone appointments for Roma families and individuals who need help applying for settlement.

The AIRE Centre's EU settlement scheme checker tool has an option to discuss your results with a caseworker.

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

Use GOV.UK to search for other advice services.

The EU settlement scheme closes for applications on 30 June 2021

After that date, you won't usually be able to get homeless help or claim benefits in the UK unless you're an Irish citizen or have settled or pre-settled status.

You need to apply even if you already have a UK permanent residence document.

Apply to the scheme on GOV.UK to protect your rights in the UK after 30 June.

Last updated: 30 December 2020

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