Monday, 27 September 2010

No Recourse to Public Funds and Homeless

What services are available to those who are homeless and have no access to public funds?
The Home office has produced a document stating exactly what people can and can not access regarding benefits, which is a good starting point. Please see attached link.

For outreach workers and front line staff who have contact with rough sleepers and homeless clients, this is not enough information. We need to know what other services are out there so that people can eat, sleep and survive.

First, the age old debate of soup runs and food hand outs and whether they encourage people to maintain a life on the streets, or assist people by providing access to a valuable source of free food. For those that have no money, for whatever reason at least it is an opportunity for them get clean and healthy food, instead of starving, raiding bins, or worse cooking and eating rats (see blog discussion from the week of 12th September ).

Secondly, using day centres. Where people can make contact with local services (usually outside agencies have regular sessions, such as nurses, mental health workers, benefits advisors or legal advice) which they may otherwise feel unsure about accessing. Day centres usually have a clothing store, washing facilities and offer hot drinks, some also allow service users to use them as a care of address.

But, What else?
Women with no recourse to funds and who are trapped in relationships which are possibly abusive or violent, there is little help as refuges tend to require their service users to be on benefits. The Women’s Resource Centre has been campaigning for action, Click Here 
Those who need medical care, there is the option of accessing an HC1 or HC2 form, which can help with the cost of prescriptions, dental treatment, sight tests and paying for glasses, travel to and from hospital for treatment or for wigs and fabric supports. (Please note, I can not confirm that applications for these items are always accepted, as I have not used these forms. I would like to hear about applications that others have made and if they have been successful).

Any other suggestions would be much appreciated, please add your comments.


  1. The Women's Resource Centre is part of a coalition of organisations working to highlight the devastating impact of the no recourse to public funds restriction for a particularly vulnerable group of women, most of whom will have been made homeless because of violence and abuse.

    The Sojourner Project, run by Eaves Housing for Women, is the first step in providing support, although not all women are eligible. The extension of this project with Home Office funding has made an important difference, enabling refuges to not turn women away beacuse of lack of funds. We hope that the pledge made by Home Office Minister Teresa May MP, for a permanent solution after March 2011, is upheld and that more women can be helped to leave abusive situations and access the support they need.

    Charlotte Gage
    Policy Officer
    Women's Resource Centre

  2. There is to take in to account the funding cuts that has been applied to the housing sector, as in the YMCA. There is a lot of these being closed down at the moment, and the fact that they house nearly 200,000 young people in the UK is quite devastating. There has been talk of rehousing these youngster's but how are they going to pay for that considering the housing benefit limit is going to be reduced by upto 52% in some areas. So even if they do rehouse them they cannot pay rent because of lack of housing benefit?.
    The ongoing cut's at the moment are going to have a wider impact that the government are taking into account, i could go on about this all day.

  3. Another option may be the Big Issue. Check out a local office for more details. But I believe that a new vendor is given a pack of magazines to sell, which allows them to get selling straight away.
    Their website is or call (0)20 7526 3200 to locate an office near you.