Help if you’re homeless: Gypsies and Travellers

Get help from the council if you are a Gypsy or Traveller and you're facing homelessness.

If you're facing homelessness

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

  • face eviction from your site, 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 housing

The council must arrange emergency housing if they think you might:

  • be homeless
  • have a priority need
  • meet immigration and residence conditions

If you qualify, they must provide housing for you and anyone who usually lives with you as a member of your family.

Longer term options

If you qualify for longer term housing, the council must try to find you a suitable pitch or housing within the area. If there's nothing available locally they 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. 

If an offer of housing or a pitch is unsuitable

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

If the council accept the main housing duty in your case, you can ask for a suitability review of:

  • any temporary housing
  • final offers of a tenancy or a pitch  

You should accept the offer and then ask for a review so you still have somewhere to live 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 - 04 Mar 2019

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