Section: Homelessness & Rough Sleeping

Liberty to take Legal Aid Agency to court for refusing to help residents fight local council abuse of power

Posted 23.10.18
Liberty: Article link

Human rights organisation Liberty has launched a legal challenge against the Legal Aid Agency for blocking access to justice for residents seeking to take local authorities to court.

The Agency will not grant legal aid to people who cannot afford to pay lawyers if they want to challenge potentially unlawful Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs).

PSPOs allow councils to ban activities they deem to have a detrimental effect on the lives of others. Many have been used to ban rough sleeping - wrongly equating poverty with antisocial behaviour in defiance of Home Office guidance.

The Legal Aid Agency will not provide financial assistance to challenge PSPOs even if they disproportionately and unjustifiably affect the poorest in society - insisting concerned locals are not directly affected by an Order and that the Agency has not been empowered by the Government to fund PSPO cases.

The Agency's position makes it near-impossible for homeless people cruelly targeted by PSPOs to enforce their basic human rights.

Liberty has now applied to challenge this stance in the High Court.

£20 million fund launched to help homeless into private rented homes

Posted 10.10.18
GOV.UK: Article link

The Private Rented Sector Access Fund, launched on World Homeless Day (10 October 2018) by Communities Secretary James Brokenshire, is a dedicated fund designed to help up to 9,000 people who are or at risk of becoming homeless to secure their own home.

A key part of the government's Rough Sleeping Strategy, the fund will be used to either help set up locally-led schemes or expand those currently in use.

These schemes will be tailored to match the needs of each local area's residents and landlords.

This could involve councils providing financial support to help those to access or maintain their tenancies, such as paying deposits for the tenancy or rent payments.

Alternatively, some schemes may involve the council managing the property on the landlord's behalf.

The fund is modelled on evidence provided from the successful programme run by homelessness charity Crisis, which supported schemes to help homeless people into thousands of private rental tenancies.

The new fund's launch comes as patients, prisoners and jobseekers at risk of homelessness must now be referred to their local housing authority under key legislation. The duty to refer, a core part of the Homelessness Reduction Act, came into force this month.

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Home for Good: New campaign launches to prevent more people returning to rough sleeping

Posted 10.10.18
St Mungo's: Article link

The number of people rough sleeping in England has more than doubled since 2010 but more people than ever are returning to rough sleeping after time away from the streets.

St Mungo's is launching a new campaign, Home for Good, calling on the government to put an end to rough sleeping by ensuring that everyone gets the long-term housing and support they need to rebuild their lives away from the street for good.

The charity is asking people to sign an open letter to James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government which was written with Kevin, a former St Mungo's client.

The above link provides access to sign the open letter.

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Quick Links

Updated 29.10.18

  • The Guardian: Number of homeless households moved out of London soars - councils blame rising homelessness, funding cuts and lack of cheap housing.
  • Wales Centre for Public Policy: New report finds prevention better than cure for youth homelessness - early interventions which stop young people from becoming homeless before it happens is the key to eradicating youth homelessness.
  • Homeless Link: Can the 'duty to refer' prevent homelessness? - Hospitals, Jobcentres and prisons now have a duty to notify local authorities when they think someone may be homeless or at risk of homelessness. Could this lead to a coordinated approach to preventing homelessness?

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