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Local authority housing assistance

The following types of housing assistance provided by a local council in England are classed as public funds for immigration purposes: 

  • Homelessness assistance under part VII of the Housing Act 1996
  • A local authority allocation of social housing (i.e. a council or housing association tenancy) made under part VI of the Housing Act 1996

A person who is subject to the 'no recourse to public funds' (NRPF) condition, or who does not have any current immigration permission, will not be eligible for homelessness assistance or a housing allocation.

The housing eligibility rules for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals are similar to the eligibility rules that apply to means-tested benefits and the EEA national's immigration status will need to be established in the first instance. See our information about benefit entitlement for EEA nationals

Housing eligibility rules can be complex, particularly when a person is living in a 'mixed household', where members have different types of immigration status, as this can affect what assistance the eligible person is entitled to. In such cases, specialist housing advice may need to be obtained. 

A person who is found to be ineligible for homelessness assistance by their local council must be provided with information and advice to help prevent their homelessness. This could include, for example, signposting to information about local immigration advisers or Home Office asylum support, or a referral to social services for support if they have children or care needs. See our information about support options for people with no recourse to public funds

Anyone who is being evicted, or at risk of homelessness for another reason, should seek advice from a housing adviser as soon as possible. 

For detailed information about housing eligibility rules, see the Shelter website and Housing Rights Information website.

Covid-19 and housing assistance

In March 2020, the UK Government required councils in England to accommodate people with no recourse to public funds who were rough sleeping, in order to bring ‘everyone in’ as part of the emergency public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although Covid-19 is still a public health risk, the Government has not changed benefit or homelessness eligibility rules and people with no recourse to public funds who are at risk of homelessness will not be able to access this assistance. However, a council may decide on a case by case basis whether to accommodate a person with no recourse to public funds who is rough sleeping, or at risk of rough sleeping, when they have no alternative support options.