Equality News Update: Homeless illegally turned away by councils

People who have nowhere to sleep or are about to lose their homes are being turned away illegally by councils, BBC Scotland can reveal.

Local authorities have a legal obligation to find accommodation for people facing homelessness.

Government statistics show that most people are made homeless following a family breakdown or household dispute.

Legal experts told the BBC that people were being unlawfully turned away by councils, despite their statutory duty.

The Legal Services Agency, a charity which provides legal advice to vulnerable people, said last year they saw about 200 people in Glasgow, many of whom had been turned away unlawfully without accommodation or help.

Solicitor Alastair Houston said people were either being told straight away they were not entitled or that there were no temporary places available.

Mr Houston said it was a “breach of their statutory duties” for local authorities to fail to provide temporary accommodation to someone presenting as homeless.

He said council case work staff would often send people to him to get a lawyer’s letter threatening the local authority with a judicial review.

“The thinking seems to be that the council will prioritise those who are clutching a legal letter if they don’t get the assistance they are entitled to,” he said.

 

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 Read more at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-42988881