Two leading charities have been granted permission to intervene in THREE Supreme Court cases, that could help reverse a ‘longstanding injustice’ experienced by homeless people in England.
Crisis and Shelter, with the support of other homelessness organisations, will help challenge a law that allows local councils to turn away homeless people who are judged not ‘vulnerable’ enough for rehousing.
As the law currently stands in England, homeless people who to turn to their local council for help are prioritised for rehousing based upon their ‘vulnerability’. But homeless charities say they have evidence which shows how some homeless people in desperate situations are being wrongly turned away, including victims of domestic violence, people with mental health problems, people with learning disabilities and vulnerable young people forced out of their homes.
113,270 people in England presented themselves as being homeless in 2013, while figures show rough sleeping has risen by 37% over the last three years.
Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “Local councils are wrongly refusing to help homeless people who come to them in desperate need as they do not consider them to be ‘vulnerable enough’.
“This has led to many people being turned away to sleep on the streets. The average age of death for a homeless person is just 47 – a shocking state of affairs in 21st century England. If the Supreme Court addresses this longstanding injustice, and people are judged fairly when they ask for help from their local council, protection for homeless people could be greatly improved.”
Crisis is calling on the government to review the law in England, so that homeless people get the support they desperately need and are not forced to sleep rough. The charity has also launched a No One Turned Away campaign.
Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter, added: “In Britain 90,000 children will wake up on Christmas morning without a place to call home. With more and more people facing the nightmare of losing their home, it’s vital we ensure that everyone who finds themselves in this desperate situation is treated fairly and given the help they are entitled to.”
The three cases will be heard at the Supreme Court in London from 15 December 2014.