ⓘ Information card

If you do not have anywhere to live and you have no money to support yourself, you need to tell the Home Office this when you claim asylum. At this point of the legal process, you will be entitled to “asylum support” – housing and a small amount of money – but you will have no choice about the location where you live, unless you have someone who will let you stay in their house.

To begin with, if you have nowhere to live, you will usually be placed in temporary “initial accommodation” by the Home Office. This used to usually be a hostel with other people seeking asylum, but the Home Office are now mainly accommodating people in hotels and other emergency accommodation. You should be provided with food, and a small amount of money for essential living expenses.

Next, after some months, you will be moved to new accommodation, usually a flat or shared house, somewhere else in the country. This is called ‘dispersal’. You will now qualify for what is known as “Section 95 support”, which is housing plus approximately £45.00 per week for each person.

You do not have any choice about where in the UK you are housed. You can be dispersed to anywhere in the UK.

To learn more about this, and what can happen to the amount of support you receive from the Home Office if you start working, read our Toolkit page about Asylum Support.

Now read the problem cards below. Discuss with a friend (or have a think if you’re doing this on your own) what you might be able to do in this situation. When you have finished discussing/thinking, click to reveal a suggested action.

⚠️ Problem card

You have applied for asylum accommodation from the Home Office because you don’t have anywhere to live. You are placed in initial accommodation, then dispersed to a shared flat in a town where you don’t know anyone.

⚠️ Problem card

Someone in initial asylum accommodation has told you that you are entitled to a lawyer for free but you don’t know how to find one.

⚠️ Problem card

You identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or intersex (LGBTQIA+) and are experiencing harassment in your dispersal accommodation based on this.

⚠️ Problem card

You do not feel comfortable, as a woman, having a male housing officer in your asylum accommodation.

⚠️ Problem card

You are experiencing ongoing violence from your partner, but did not disclose this prior to dispersal.

⚠️ Problem card

After you have had your screening interview and been dispersed, you are being made to wait many months for your asylum interview, and don’t even have a date for it yet.

For many people, waiting is one of the most stressful parts of the asylum system. Long periods of time can go by, making people feel uncertain about the future.