Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): information for homelessness services

Published: 31 Mar 2020

Information for homelessness organisations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

31 Mar 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): information for homelessness services

Health advice

Health and social distancing advice can be found on NHS Inform.

Frontline homelessness workers have an important role to play in helping people experiencing homelessness to use this information. 

COVID-19 recovery 

The Housing Minister asked the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG) to reconvene for a short time to consider where things need to go next if we are to end homelessness.

In line with the Ending Homelessness Together principles, our recovery plan is informed by people who have experience of homelessness and by the insights and expertise of those who work in homelessness services.

The Tackling homelessness in Scotland following the coronavirus pandemic final report was accepted and was incorporated into the Updated Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan. In fact, the Scottish Government was already delivering on many of the recommendations.

Guidance for homelessness professionals

Health Protection Scotland has released guidance to support those working in non-healthcare settings, including homelessness settings, to assist staff dealing with the impact of the virus.

The guidance covers:

  • what COVID-19 is and how it is spread
  • how to prevent the spread of the virus
  • what to do if someone is ill on site
  • what to do if you have a possible or confirmed case

Support for people with no recourse to public funds

To reduce the spread of the virus, local councils are being supported to take a public health response to meet the accommodation and other needs of people with no recourse to public funds.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has published guidance for local authorities setting out how they can fulfil their safeguarding duties towards people with no recourse to public funds during this period.

COVID-19 treatment is free for all and anyone with symptoms, regardless of their immigration status, should follow NHS Inform guidance in the same way as those who are ordinarily resident in Scotland.

Anyone requiring immediate or urgent healthcare in Scotland, not only for COVID-19, will receive it regardless of their immigration status or their ability to pay if charges apply.

Protection against the threat of eviction

Scotland introduced emergency legislation to increase the eviction notice period, depending on the grounds used, for up to six months for private and social tenants.

This protects private and social tenants from eviction and provide security to households facing financial hardship.

Help with housing costs

Renters who get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit but still cannot afford their housing costs may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Local councils are responsible for considering applications and making payments.