Coronavirus: Benefits and Homelessness

The Coronavirus pandemic is first and foremost a health emergency and we urge everyone to comply with the government's medical advice to social distance and avoid close contact with anyone outside of your household. Full health advice can be found here.

Unfortunately for a large number of people the crisis is also a financial disaster. Workers have been laid off or will not be paid. The self-employed and people working in the so-called "gig economy" are unlikely to be paid at all.  Of course, some people are already suffering financially or surviving on benefits.

The government has put in place a number of measures to assist people in these circumstances (see links below), these include changes to Statutory Sick Pay and Universal Credit claims for those suffering from the virus. However, many people will still have difficulty paying their bills will fall into arrears with their rent and may face homelessness. There have been efforts to support people through government support and legislation, for example now there is a 6 month notice period for most evictions. Whilst these measures are welcome, they do not go far enough and we are still concerned that some people may still lose their homes.

Please contact us if you are experiencing difficulties due to the Coronavirus pandemic and need advice regarding housing or benefits. You can email us at, or call us on 020 8694 7740.


For the majority of tenants, landlords must give 6 months notice for evictions during this period. If they don't, it may be an illegal eviction. If you are facing eviction, get in touch as we may be able to prevent it from happening or support you to find somewhere else to live.

Bills and Council Tax

If you are worried about paying your bills and are on a low income, please get in touch and we will be able to advise you on your options; often there are reduced bills and council tax for those on benefits. If you have built up arrears, please contact us ASAP and we will see if we can help you arrange a plan with the council or energy provider.

Please Note: Immigration status and Covid-19

All NHS services for Coronavirus are free for everyone regardless of their immigration status in the UK. This includes coronavirus testing and treatment, even if the result is negative. You will not be reported to the Home Office for coronavirus testing or treatment. (Source: Groundswell rough sleeper advice)

Lewisham Resident and need support?

Call Lewisham Local on 03330 150378 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm as of 1st August) – if you are requesting support for yourself or a neighbour/family member. They provide: 

  • telephone befriending service

  • Practical assistance (shopping, errands etc)

  • If you need food but cannot shop for yourself or are unable to get online shopping, they can bring you a paid for weekly food parcel for £20​

No money for food? Contact us and we can arrange a food bank delivery for you for free.

Useful Links:

Grant for Lewisham Residents waiting for benefits for fuel and food​ during Covid-19

Government information on coronavirus and claiming benefits

Government news on coronavirus support for employees, benefit claimants, and businesses.

Government bans on evictions/protection for renters

Information for self-employed and freelance workers - getting financial aid during the pandemic

Complete list of London's coronavirus mutual aid groups

Groundswell's advice on coronavirus for rough sleepers

Covid-19 harm reduction for people who use drugs

Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

Rough Sleeping

Are you rough sleeping or concerned about a rough sleeper?

Ring Street Link on 0300 500 0914 or visit

Support us

Would you consider supporting us regularly? To do so please download this standing order form and send it to us (the address is on the form).
Thank you.

© 2016 Bench Outreach

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