Homelessness Services

Frequently Asked Questions


Who is eligible for the service?

ScotsCare is a charity supporting Scots who are experiencing homelessness in London, to be eligible for support you must be:

  • homeless within a radius of 35 miles of Charing Cross
  • a person born in Scotland, or;
  • the child of a person born in Scotland, or;
  • someone married to a first generation Scot, or;
  • the widow, widower or surviving member of a civil partnership of a person born in Scotland, or;
  • the widow, widower or surviving member of a civil partnership of a person, one of whose parents was born in Scotland.

The definition of homelessness as identified by Shelter England is not having a home. You are homeless if you have nowhere to stay and are living on the streets, but you can be homeless even if you have a roof over your head. You count as homeless if you are:

  • staying with friends or family
  • staying in a hostel, night shelter or B&B
  • squatting (because you have no legal right to stay)
  • at risk of violence or abuse in your home
living in poor conditions that affect your health
  • living apart from your family because you don’t have a place to live together

What can we do?

The Scottish Outreach Workers will work collaboratively with you and other agencies to provide support in the form of:

  • Engagement and assessment
  • Support in referrals to accommodation
  • Clothing and resettlement grants
  • Support in attending appointments
  • Referrals to appropriate agencies
  • Planned reconnection to Scotland if client wishes

What is a local connection?

The following situations give you a local connection. If you have more than one local connection, you should approach the council where you’d like to live. You can check which council area you’re in here. Living in an area You have a local connection if you’ve lived in a council area for at least:

  • 6 out of the last 12 months
  • 3 out of the last 5 years
Staying in emergency housing or a refuge counts. 
Time spent in prison or hospital doesn’t count.

Working in an area

You have a local connection if you’re working or self-employed in a council area.

Close family in the area

You have a local connection if any of the following family members have lived in a council area for at least 5 years:

  • parents
  • adult children
  • brothers and sisters
The council might accept a local connection based on other family members. For example, if you were brought up by another relative and remain in close contact.

Care leavers

You have a local connection if you’re under 21 and were previously in care in the area for at least 2 years (even if placed there by another council). 

You also have a local connection if you’re under 25 and you get advice and support from the council’s social services department under a ‘pathway plan’. 

If your pathway plan is provided by a county council, you have a local connection to every local housing department in the county council area.

Refugee status or humanitarian protection

You have a local connection to the last council area you were housed in by the Home Office under asylum support. It doesn’t matter how long you lived there for. Special reasons The council could decide you have a local connection for a special reason such as:

  • a need to live in the area to receive specialist health care
  • very important social connections with the area

Can ScotsCare find me accommodation?

Following an assessment, the Scottish Outreach Workers will identify where your local connection is and work to support you to access services in this area. Many people do not want to return to the place where their local connection is for various reasons, and although we do encourage this as it gives the best possible options, we will look at other options. It is important to remember that options do become limited and it can and usually does take a long time to be eligible to access services out with your local connection. This is something which can be discussed on an assessment. It is important to note that the assessment process is usually conducted very casually it is solely for the purpose of identifying what is going on for you and the best possible way we can support.

Can I access a grant?

People who meet the criteria to access ScotsCare are able to access a financial and/or clothing grant. 

In order to do so we need a copy of a birth certificate (short or long form certificate), and/or the consent to apply for a birth certificate on your behalf. If you were born outside of Scotland, you will need to produce a long form birth certificate. 

We also need you to provide a bank statement and proof of benefits or income. If you are not on benefits or receiving an income, a bank statement will suffice. Unfortunately we are unable to provide the grant in the form of cash. We can work with established support workers, who can help support you to spend your grant or who can make time to go shopping with you in order for you to spend it. We would need to retain proof of purchase for all items bought.

Can ScotsCare help me return to Scotland?

Yes, we would work with you to support with a planned reconnection to Scotland. This can take many forms and will most likely be one of the Outreach Workers liaising with services in Scotland to ensure that you are not going to be rough sleeping on your return to Scotland and support put in place. ScotsCare will buy a bus ticket for you to return.

I am rough sleeping, can ScotsCare put me in temp accommodation?

Unfortunately there is a shortage of temporary accommodations in London, and they usually have a criteria which you have to meet. This differs from place to place and will usually depend on a Local Connection. Depending on support needs and vulnerability there may be some places throughout London you can access and this is something that would be discussed at Assessment.

I am thinking about moving to London, can ScotsCare help me?

ScotsCare strongly encourages people to only make the move to London if you have a secure accommodation and a job set up. Due to Local connection and eligibility to access services if you do not have a strong, secure plan in place the chances of rough sleeping are extremely high and unfortunately there is no quick fix for this.

Can ScotsCare help me financially?

Our homelessness service is predominantly a case management and outreach service. We can provide financial grants if eligible but we cannot offer cash.

Can ScotsCare help me get ID?

Yes, ScotsCare can apply for a birth certificate with your consent. Unfortunately due to being a charity we do not have the funding to apply for passports.

If you find yourself rough sleeping in London:

it is a good idea to present to the Local Authority (if you do not know where this is, it is always good to present at a library, they will have this information). Further useful links:

Scottish Outreach workers are based at The Connection at St. Martin-in-the-Fields and hold a drop in session at the Passage every Thursday 10 – 1, St Vincent’s Centre, Carlisle Place, London SW1P 1NL

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