Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): information for homelessness services

Published: 31 Mar 2020

Information for homelessness organisations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

31 Mar 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): information for homelessness services

Health advice

Health and social distancing advice can be found on NHS Inform.

Frontline homelessness workers have an important role to play in helping people experiencing homelessness to use this information. 

Funding for homelessness organisations

Communities secretary Aileen Campbell has announced an additional £350 million to help those most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The funding will be made available to councils, charities, businesses and community groups, including those working with rough sleepers and people who are homeless, to enable them to support people most in need.

For more information on the funding and to apply, please contact

Guidance for homelessness professionals

Health Protection Scotland has released guidance to support those working in non-healthcare settings, including homelessness settings, to assist staff dealing with the impact of the virus.

The guidance covers:

  • what COVID-19 is and how it is spread
  • how to prevent the spread of the virus
  • what to do if someone is ill on site
  • what to do if you have a possible or confirmed case

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Public Health England has published guidance on infection prevention and control for COVID-19.

This includes guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and social care workers, including frontline homelessness workers, responding to the virus in Scotland.

The guidance covers:

  • what type of PPE to use in secondary, primary and community care settings, and when to wear it
  • when clinicians need to wear a higher level of protective equipment, and in which settings
  • detailed advice around risk assessing use of PPE in a range of different clinical scenarios, including community settings, such as care homes and caring for individuals in their own homes

Health Protection Scotland has produced posters to accompany the PPE guidance. 

Support for people with no recourse to public funds

To reduce the spread of the virus, local councils are being supported to take a public health response to meet the accommodation and other needs of people with no recourse to public funds.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has published guidance for local authorities setting out how they can fulfil their safeguarding duties towards people with no recourse to public funds during this period.

COVID-19 treatment is free for all and anyone with symptoms, regardless of their immigration status, should follow NHS Inform guidance in the same way as those who are ordinarily resident in Scotland.

Anyone requiring immediate or urgent healthcare in Scotland, not only for COVID-19, will receive it regardless of their immigration status or their ability to pay if charges apply.

Protection against the threat of eviction

Scotland has introduced emergency legislation to increase the eviction notice period, depending on the grounds used, for up to six months for private and social tenants.

This will protect private and social tenants from eviction and provide security to households facing financial hardship in the coming months.

Help with housing costs

Renters who get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit but still cannot afford their housing costs may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Local councils are responsible for considering applications and making payments.

Guidance for accommodation providers

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 set out requirements to close premises and businesses during the emergency period.

If hotels and businesses are providing rooms to support people who are homeless, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they should remain open.