By Prof Dave Cowan, Professor of Law and Policy (University of Bristol Law School)
The onset of Covid-19 gave rise to a massive effort to provide health care services and accommodation for homeless persons. This includes not just those people who are rough sleeping, but also those otherwise at risk without a home, such as those living in hostels and B&B accommodation. A range of organisations have assisted in this process, from medical health professionals to local authorities, who have procured empty hotels and other spaces for homeless persons to self-isolate as well as acted on the government’s guidance to keep temporary accommodation open.
In this post, I consider whether homeless persons who come to the attention of the local authority should be regarded as having made an “application” for homelessness assistance. The homelessness legislation is one of the most litigated areas in public law, and I have recently drawn attention to the supposed cultural change brought about by the Homelessness Reduction Act 2018. It is particularly relevant to students taking our unit in Rich Law, Poor Law, or engaging in work with our law clinic. (more…)