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EU Citizen and Homeless?


There was briefly a loophole. If, somehow, an EU citizen in England was on Income Support and became homeless, there was a way they could be eligible for housing assistance from local authorities under the Homelessness (England) Regulations 2000, because they were subject to immigration control as non-workseekers, oddly enough. I was looking after a Housing Act appeal on these grounds and was happy when this was confirmed by the Court of Appeal in Barnet BC v Ismail and Abdi [2006] EWCA Civ 383.

But, from 20th April 2006, this is no more. Rushed through Regulations, which didn’t even get the usual 21 days to be inspected by a Commons Committee before coming into force, plugged the gap. Odd, as even receiving Income Support should only be the result of a mess up by the DWP, so there can’t be that many who’d slip in through this hole.

Luckily, after a quick and anxious check, my client should be covered by the transitional provisions. They are still in with a good chance with the homeless application. But if you are Italian, Spanish etc., getting Income Support and became homeless in England after 20th April 2006, tough. At least, that is what it looks like. We shall see.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. Monica Jones

    I have a friend who is Italian, receiving Income Support, and homeless. He arrived in UK before January 2006. He was evicted from a squat later on in 2006 – well after April of that year.

    What would the duties of the Local Authority towards him be, if any ?

  2. contact

    OK, firstly, this is not legal advice and your friend should not rely on it. Your friend should seek full legal advice.

    Secondly, I can’t even have a stab at this on what you’ve told me alone.

    Was he on Income Support from arrival? Ever claiming Jobseekers? Ever working? If so when did he claim Income Support? Did he have any other UK accommodation apart from the squat? Did he leave settled accommodation in Italy or wherever he was before coming to the UK? Why did he leave Italy or come to the UK?

    Is he single? Does he have any dependants/children with him? Does he have medical problems (physical or mental) – why is he on Income Support?

    Where has he been living since being evicted?

    Your friend should seek legal advice and have answers, preferably with documents to back them up, for these questions. But as a general view, he is likely to have very serious difficulties in making a succesful homeless application.

  3. Ms Marina Guimaraes

    My friend is a EU citizen (portuguese)and due to a drug addiction (for which he could not seek treatment in Portugal due to lack of resources) he came to the UK. He works for a charity and does not get paid. He claimed job seekers allowance and later was told that he should apply for income support. He did so but was refused.

    Under EU law,

    . is he allowed to claim income support?
    . is he considered a “worker” under the legislation?

    Please advise.

    Thank you

  4. contact

    Dear Ms Guimaraes,

    I am not an immigration, Welfare Benefits or EU law specialist, I am a housing specialist, so I cannot advise. In addition, I could not give proper advice on the basis of the rather limited details you have given here.

    I suggest that your friend contact a specialist advice agency. You should be able to obtain a list of legal aid agencies and solicitors from the website of the Community Legal Service at – there is a link on the front page or near the top of this page.


    Nearly Legal


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