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I'm a carer that's facing homelessness, what now?

In our community, we've witnessed the heart-wrenching reality of unpaid carers struggling to maintain a stable place to live. This is often due to a combination of personal difficulties and larger systemic issues.


It's an impossible situation we find ourselves in - trying to make sense of our care responsibilities while also ensuring we have a safe place to live. 


The help we depend on, like benefits, can sometimes stop if the person we're caring for passes away or goes into a care facility. The demands of caregiving - its stress, exhaustion, and full-time commitment - can also impact our wellbeing and limit our opportunities for education and employment.

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Facing homelessness is a daunting and distressing situation, but as a resilient community, we're not without options. We want to ensure that no carer faces the anguish and anxiety of losing their home.


In this article, we'll explore the steps we can take when facing homelessness as carers, offering insights and guidance to help protect our safety.

Sudden changes to our care arrangements: If the person being cared for experiences a sudden change in care needs or circumstances, it can disrupt our living situation and financial stability. It could be that we live in our parent's house and they’ve recently passed away, or they need to sell their house to fund their care costs.


Financial strain: Many unpaid carers have to reduce their working hours or even quit their jobs to provide care to their loved ones. This loss of income can make it difficult for us to afford rent, mortgage payments, or other housing-related expenses, especially in the current cost of living crisis.


Lack of benefits: As carers, we often depend on benefits to help with money. However, these benefits, like Carer’s Allowance, can be affected when the person we care for passes away or moves into a care facility. Changes in benefits can disrupt our financial stability and increase the risk of homelessness.

Isolation and lack of support: Taking care of someone can be isolating, and many of us talk about the lack of a support network. This can make it harder for us to find the help we need when facing housing-related challenges or financial difficulties.


Mental health struggles: Studies have found that unpaid carers have higher levels of anxiety and depression. This can impact our ability to work, manage our finances, and maintain our housing situation.


Eviction: Our landlord may have asked us to leave our property. The timeline for eviction can be relatively short. This can leave us without enough time to find alternative housing. Or we may not be able to find another available home at a similar price, because of the current UK housing shortage. 


No time for work or school: The time and energy we put into caregiving can limit our ability to pursue education or employment opportunities. This can have a trickle-down effect on our financial stability and housing situation.


The current housing crisis: Homes in the UK can be expensive, and this makes it hard for many people, including carers, to find and keep a home we can afford.


A breakdown in the caring relationship: The relationship with the person we care for can break down. We may be leaving our care role, or we may no longer feel safe living with them. This can change the caregiving situation, and affect our access to stable accommodation.


Not enough tailored support: Every local council is different, but some of us have raised a lack of awareness about the specific challenges faced by unpaid carers in the housing sector. This can lead to a lack of tailored support or resources to help us navigate our housing-related issues.

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Why do unpaid carers sometimes face homelessness?

I no longer have access to safe housing, what now? 

Nobody should have to face the uncertainty of not having access to safe housing. It can be incredibly challenging, but remember, there is support available to help us.


Here are some essential steps we can take:


1. Reach out to our local council

If we’re an adult that finds ourselves at risk of homelessness, it's crucial to act quickly. We can contact our local authority's housing department or homelessness prevention team. They are there to provide guidance, assess our situation, and offer temporary housing solutions if needed.


If we’re already homeless, or likely to become homeless within the next eight weeks, we can apply for help getting somewhere to live. This is known as making a homeless application.


We should always ask for access to emergency housing straight away, while the council looks into long-term solutions for us such as council housing. If they refuse to give us housing we can challenge their decision.


To make a homeless application, we can visit the website and search for our postcode to find our local housing team. If we’re a carer that’s under 17, we should contact our local social services team instead.


2. Know our rights

English law says that every eligible person at risk of homelessness is entitled to 56 days of help from their council. This is to prevent us from becoming homeless. The law that states this in the Homeless Reduction Act, which was introduced in the UK in April 2018.

If we’re in danger of becoming homeless and not subject to immigration control, we’re entitled to receive this assistance.

Once we’ve contacted the council, a housing prevention officer will usually assess our circumstances and support needs. They’ll then offer advice on how to remain in our current home or find alternative accommodation before we become homeless.

3. Contact family and friends

Our priority is to make sure we have a safe place to stay.  If it’s available to us, we should consider reaching out to family and friends for a temporary place to sleep. Staying with them can provide immediate relief from the stress and uncertainty of homelessness. And it allows us to have a roof over our head while we explore more permanent solutions.


4. Reach out to homeless charities

If we don’t have family and friends we can stay with, there are other options we can explore. Various homeless charities and organisations offer temporary accommodation and support services. They can help us to find a safe place to stay while we’re working on finding a new home. 


For emergency housing, we recommend contacting Shelter, a housing charity that has a network of local Housing Aid Centres across England and Wales.


We can contact them by phone: 0344 515 1540 (Advice Line) or 08088 004 444, or email:


5. Check eligibility for benefits

We can also assess our eligibility for housing benefits and financial assistance that can alleviate the burden of housing costs. Apart from housing benefits, various financial assistance programs are available to help, offering short-term relief.


We’ve created a really simple financial checklist so we can see what we might be eligible for.


6. Look into our employment options

If we are able to work, we could look into employment opportunities or training programs that can help us to regain financial stability. Many local housing services offer assistance with job searches and skill development.


And our local Jobcentre Plus can assist us with finding employment. We can search for our local branch on the website.


7. Contact Citizens Advice Bureau

The Citizens Advice Bureau can offer free, impartial advice on a wide range of issues, including housing and benefits. They can help us with our rights, entitlements and available support options. This can be particularly helpful if we’re not happy with the support or housing options offered by our local housing team. 


Keep in mind that Citizens Advice offers services through local branches, so it's recommended to visit their official website and use their postcode search tool to find the contact details for the specific branch nearest to you.

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Further support available

If we’re facing homelessness, know that we are not alone. There are people and organisations ready to support us.


Here are some charities we can contact for further help and advice:

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Crisis offers a wide range of services directly to carers experiencing homelessness. These services include access to emergency shelters, housing support and employment services. Plus, many local Crisis centres provide food, clothing, showers and healthcare services.
Phone: 0300 636 1967



Shelter provides guidance on finding temporary shelter, understanding housing rights and accessing essential services. One of their key focuses is to prevent evictions whenever possible. They work to help tenants negotiate with landlords, understand their rights and find solutions to stay in their homes.
Phone: 0808 800 4444



Centrepoint focuses on addressing homelessness among young people, particularly those aged 16 to 25. They aim to provide support, housing, and opportunities for young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Phone: 0808 800 0661



Depaul is responsible for the national Nightstop UK service, which helps young people who are rough sleeping or sofa surfing to access better accommodation. They pair people up with approved and vetted volunteers – ensuring they have a secure and safe room for the night.

Phone (Nightstop):  0207 939 1254

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Where to access emotional support

The challenges and uncertainties that come with not having a stable place to live can take a big toll on our emotional wellbeing.


There are places and groups that offer emotional support when things are hard:

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Family and friends: Our close friends and family can be a big help. They can give us emotional support and maybe even a place to stay for a while or help us find solutions.


Counselling Services: We can get free talking therapies, including counselling for stress and anxiety, on the NHS. You can refer yourself directly to a talking therapies service on the NHS website. Counselling can help us deal with our feelings, manage stress, and come up with ways to move forward. We have a whole guide to accessing free and low-cost counselling for further guidance. 


Homeless charities: Homeless charities like Shelter often have support services that include emotional assistance. They know the challenges we're facing and can listen, give advice, and guide us. The mental health charity Mind's helplines also provide information and support by phone and email.


Support groups: Look for local or online support groups for people experiencing homelessness. Connecting with others who are in similar situations can make us feel less isolated and provide a sense of community.


The Samaritans: There are helplines we can call for emotional support. Samaritans are open 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk, on 116 123 (freephone) or email

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We are here to help

As we've explored in this article, there are lots of options available to us when facing the possibility of homelessness. Remember, we’re not alone on this journey. In addition to the practical steps we can take, it's important to recognise how important talking to others is. 


One way to connect is through our Mobilise Cuppas, where fellow carers come together for friendly chats to discuss our shared challenges. These 45-minute video chats are a place to seek advice or simply have someone listen and understand all we’re going through.


View our latest timetable and please do join us on our next video call. 


Homelessness can be an overwhelming experience, but there are pathways towards stability. By staying informed and reaching out for help, we can work towards securing the safe home we deserve.

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