Types of Accommodation

We defend the fundamental human dignity of all migrants and refugees, regardless of their legal status, including through policies providing access to decent accommodation, healthcare, and childhood education, as well as facilitating family reunification.

Love The Stranger, Principle 12 (CBCEW)

Initial accommodation is provided for asylum seekers who request housing support upon applying for asylum and is temporary until dispersal accommodation is assigned.

It is important to note that people are now spending an increasingly longer time in initial accommodation due to a lack of available dispersal accommodation and delays in case processing.

It is also referred to as ‘section 98 support’. This may be in the form of a hostel or hotel, together with others also seeking asylum.

Dispersal accommodation is assigned to asylum seekers who request housing support and is available to them until they receive a decision on their application. It is also referred to as ‘section 95 support’ and was previously known as ‘NASS accommodation’.

Dispersal accommodation is located across the country and is usually in the form of privately owned flats and houses, managed by private contractors. Dispersal accommodation is often allocated outside of London.

Contingency accommodation is provided for asylum seekers in place of initial and dispersal accommodation and can be in the form of hotels, repurposed military barracks and barges.

Section 4 support comprises of accommodation and financial support and is available to some destitute individuals whose asylum claims have been refused and they are considered ‘appeal rights exhausted’ but now have an outstanding fresh claim for asylum.

This accommodation is similar to dispersal accommodation in that there is no choice of location – this has a negative impact on relationships and community ties as re-location often ruptures family ties and support networks people may have cultivated.

Additionally, there is criteria to be met for eligibility which will be reviewed periodically by the Home Office. Further information on this can be found at:


It is to be noted that appeals rights exhausted individuals normally cannot access any support, and the circumstances in which they can access section 4 support is limited, such as new claims.

Bridging accommodation is the term applied to temporary accommodation provided to Afghan refugees evacuated from Afghanistan following the withdrawal of allied forces in August 2021, and those resettled to the UK thereafter[1]. Bridging accommodation can be in the form of hotels and serviced apartments.

Note on unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC):

In the case of unaccompanied children who do not have close family members in the UK to care for them, they are the responsibility of the local authority in which they are present. However, there may occur a transfer of responsibility whereby a local authority may ask another to take over its duties towards the child.

There are concerns of UASC being accommodated with adults in contingency accommodation, and in hotels, which has raised serious safeguarding concerns as hundreds of children have been reported missing, with many remaining missing. A failure to safeguard UASC in appropriate accommodation places them at increased risk of harm and exploitation, including human trafficking and modern slavery.

Further reading:





[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bridging-accommodation-exit-plans-for-resettled-afghans/bridging-accommodation-exit-for-the-afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme-and-afghan-relocations-and-assistance-policy-policy-guidance