Homeless people no longer have to take accommodation test
- 14 May
A supreme court has found that councils have wrongly assed the need of applicants for accommodation in new ruling.
Homeless people should now find it easier to obtain council accommodation after a supreme court judgement that requires housing officers to adopt a new approach, reports the Guardian.
Charities have welcomed the ruling as they have found many local authorities have been wrongly assessing need in relation to those deem "street homeless" although the description doesn't appear in the relevant legislation.
"The expression ‘street homeless', is ... much used, but it is not to be found in the 1996 Housing Act," the judgement said. "The expression can plainly mean somewhat different things to different people. ‘Homeless', as defined in the act, is an adjective which can cover a number of different situations, and the very fact that the statute does not distinguish between them calls into question the legitimacy of doing so when considering the nature or extent of an authority's duty to an applicant."
Welcoming the judgment, Giles Peaker, a partner at Anthony Gold Solicitors who acted for the charity Crisis in the case, said: "The purpose of the law was to ensure that people who are at more risk of suffering harm when homeless are given accommodation. The test for vulnerability had become such a high hurdle that vulnerable people were turned away. The supreme court has set out clearly how the law should work to fulfil its purpose."
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: "At the mercy of an almost impossible test, thousands of vulnerable homeless people have been forced to sleep rough or pushed into dangerous situations. Today's landmark ruling should make this a thing of the past, and mean the law rightly acts to protect those who need it most. Far too often at Shelter we hear from homeless people in utterly desperate situations, like someone fleeing domestic violence or coping with a severe mental health problem, who've been wrongly refused help by their local council and left to fend for themselves on the streets. Today's judgment shows that our homelessness laws remain a vital safeguard for those who lose their home through no fault of their own, and they must be upheld."
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: "This ruling represents a major step in tackling the injustice faced by so many single homeless people in England today. The court heard evidence of just how horrific a homeless person's life has to be before they qualify for council help. The average age of death for a homeless person is just 47; they are over nine times more likely to commit suicide and 13 times more likely to be a victim of violence. It's a scandal that someone facing this kind of life can be told they're not vulnerable enough for help. The reality is that anyone sleeping on the streets is vulnerable, and we applaud today's ruling for making it easier for people to get help. The court is also clear that while councils are often under huge financial strain, this must not be used as an excuse for avoiding their legal duties. Despite this ruling, we still have a long way to go. The legal entitlements for single homeless people remain inadequate and many will still be turned away from help - cold, desperate and forgotten by wider society."
The Local Government Association said: "Councils will be considering this ruling carefully. It is a tragedy when anyone becomes homeless and councils work hard to find appropriate accommodation for homeless people, particularly those who are young, vulnerable, or with families. With homelessness approvals increasing and local authorities accepting more people than ever, sadly, councils simply do not have enough homes to provide accommodation for all of those who need support, due to a shortage of housing and pressures on their budgets. Councils are continuously finding new and innovative ways to deliver and finance new homes to expand the range of accommodation available. However, if they are to unlock their ambitions to build many more affordable homes, they must be given urgent flexibility to do so."
What do you think of this? Tweet us your comments @suppsolutions
- 11 Sep
New service to support homeless people in Birmingham
A new dedicated Homeless Street Triage car will be responding to the rising number of calls reporting homelessness, begging and anti-social drinking in the city, reports 24dash.In the last year –...
- 09 Sep
Gym in Kent hopes to improve health and fitness of homeless people
Riverside is a specialist in working with single homeless people to help them get their lives back on track and into accommodation. Their new project, a gymnasium, has been funded by the Riverside...
- 08 Sep
The cost of homelessness in Hackney doubles
Figures have shown that the cost of homelessness in 2009/10 was £3,092,255 compared to £7,167,440 in 2014/15, with a cut on staff spending from £3,239,653 to £2,608,491 reports 24dash.Hackney...
- 04 Sep
Two homelessness services to be investigated
The Scottish Housing Regulator is set to investigate every aspect of services offered by Dumfries and Galloway Council, whilst also examining how homeless people access help and support at Scottish...
- 03 Sep
Homeless project for young people under threat due to cuts
Platform for Life was expected to attract interest from numerous housing associations with its scheme to convert properties into accommodation for young people in further education, training or work,...
- 01 Sep
Charities warns Irish government of homelessness crisis
Social Justice Ireland is calling for a new funding system that will meet the demand and reveal that only 20 council homes for families have been completed within the first three months of this year,...
- 26 Aug
Newspaper office to become a centre for homeless people
The old office for the Doncaster Free Press is being transformed into flats and other facilities for people who are homeless, reports Hold the Front Page. The building is being turned into...
- 20 Aug
Cuts leaving people in Cheltenham needing homelessness support
Bosses at CCP and Cheltenham Borough Council have said the “devastating impact” of benefit cuts in the town are causing issues for many people, report the Gloucestershire Echo.Over the past few...
- 19 Aug
Concern that homelessness in Cambridge is at ‘tipping point’
Not only do figures show a rise in quarterly numbers by 24 households, they also reveal that over 350 cases were placed in temporary accommodation over the last year, which was a rise of 50 cases on...
- 11 Aug
Charities say Wales is “setting an example” for homelessness
A joint report by Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has praised Welsh laws that are trying to address the issues of homelessness, reports the BBC.However they warn that the removal of...
The Welfare Reform Act: Universal Credit, Sheltered and Supported Housing The content was concise and to the point. The content was relevant to our service, and gave us a better us a better indication of were stand with upcoming changes. Rosie Kaur - Panahghar