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Housing for refugees

Find out what housing help you can get if you have refugee status, humanitarian protection, or a visa under one of the Ukraine schemes.

If you are waiting for an asylum application decision, you can usually get asylum support to help with housing and money.

Find out how to:

Get homelessness help from the council

The council must help if you are homeless or could be homeless in the next 8 weeks.

This includes if you:

  • get a notice from your landlord

  • are asked to leave by a friend, host or a family member

  • get refugee status and have to leave asylum support or NASS accommodation

You can apply to any council.

But sometimes the council can refer you to another area.

This usually happens if you have no local connection where you apply but do have a local connection somewhere else.

Local connection means links to a council area. It includes a job, close family members or where you most recently lived in asylum support housing.

If you have a local connection to more than one area, think carefully about where to apply.

If you do not have a local connection anywhere, the council you apply to cannot refer you to a different area.

Find out about moving on from asylum support housing.

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Get emergency housing when homeless

The council must give you emergency housing if they think you could have a priority need.

You are in priority need if:

  • you're pregnant

  • children live with you

  • the council decide you're vulnerable

  • you're under 21 and were in care when you were under 18

You could count as vulnerable if you have:

  • a disability, health condition or illness which affects your daily life

  • trauma from your experiences in your home country or efforts to reach the UK

Find out more about who has a priority need.

If the council does not help

The council must give you a letter explaining why they will not help.

A housing adviser could help you to ask for a review.

You could get free legal help.

Contact Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345

You can also search for an adviser in your area. Choose 'housing' from the list of categories.

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Find a resettlement scheme

Resettlement schemes match refugees with people who can offer a room in their home.

You can find out more about different schemes from these charities:

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Find somewhere to rent privately

Some councils and charities run schemes to help people find private rented housing.

Search for a scheme in your area using the Help to Rent database run by Crisis.

If you're in London, you can contact Refugee Council private rented scheme.

Right to rent checks

Private landlords must ask to see your passport or papers from the Home Office. This is called a right to rent check.

Tenancy deposit and rent in advance

Private landlords usually ask for a deposit and rent in advance.

Ask the council if they can help.

You might also get help through a:

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Apply for council housing

Council housing is when you rent from the local council or a housing association.

It is sometimes called social housing.

Each council has their own waiting list and you may have to wait for a long time.

Councils must give priority to certain groups of people. For example, homeless people.

But you can apply for council housing even if you are not homeless.

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Sort problems with the Homes for Ukraine scheme

The Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme matches people escaping war in Ukraine with hosts in the UK.

Your host should not ask you to pay rent. But they can ask you for some money towards food, water, gas or electricity.

Your host should provide you with accommodation for at least 6 months.

You can find a host by contacting a recognised provider under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

Do not search for a sponsor or give personal information to people on social media.

Find out more about living with your host and what to do if things do not work out.

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Get support and immigration advice

You could get support or free immigration advice from:

If you want to change your immigration status, you'll need specialist immigration advice from a regulated adviser or solicitor.

Shelter cannot give immigration advice.

Citizens Advice can help you get specialist immigration advice.

You can search for a regulated immigration adviser on GOV.UK

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Last updated: 2 April 2023

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