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 stay at home, only leaving the house when essential. Call the NHS on 111 for further advice if you are in a vulnerable group.

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. The government has introduced a 3-month break in mortgage payments for those who need it and emergency legislation is to be introduced to stop evictions of renters for three months. 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 Dave from our advice team on 07586544206 Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm.

Please Note: Gas and Electricity

Don't stress about gas / electricity.

Phone them if you have a prepay meter tell them your self isolating and they will send you out 2 weeks worth of gas / electricity or if you have a smart meter they will top you up.

BRITISH GAS 0333 202 9802

EDF 0333 200 5100

EON 0345 052 000

N POWER 0800 073 3000

SCOTTISH POWER 0800 027 0072

SSE 0345 026 2658

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)

Useful Links:

Grant for Lewisham Residents on 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

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Thank you.

© 2016 Bench Outreach

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