Who is Entitled to Housing?

Under current English law, last revised in 2002, in England, Scotland and Wales, only 'statutory homeless' people are entitled to rehousing via a local authorityxxi. To acquire this stature a person must:

  • Be 'eligible for public funds'
  • Have an association with the area covered by the governing local authority, known as a 'local connection’
  • Be able to prove they are 'unintentionally homeless'
  • Provide evidence to demonstrate their 'priority need' (the definition of which varies between the different nations and has been abolished altogether in Scotland)xxii.

Only once a person has passed each of these stringent tests will they be considered 'statutorily homeless' - and only at this stage will a local authority acquire a legal dutyto provide assistance. This is known as 'the main homelessness duty'. In practice - with housing stock in short supply across the country - it means that families with young children and pregnant mothers are most likely to be rehoused. Ultimately, the result is that most single people and a number of vulnerable groups, including rough sleepers - and the ‘hidden homeless’ - are mainly left to fend for themselves.

Surviving on the streets of Manchester. Image by Matthew Taylor

Citations

xxi. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homelessness-data-notes-and-definitions
xxii. https://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/statutory-homelessness.html

Copyright © by Amy.F.Varle, January 2018.
The moral right of the author has been asserted.

The views and opinions expressed in this report and its content are those of the author and not of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which has no responsibility or liability for any part of the report.

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When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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