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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2009): Homelessness - UK

The burning question

S. Povey

Roof, Nov./Dec. 2009, p. 42

Since 1997 local authority homelessness review officers have been scrutinising council decisions about what services applicants were entitled to receive. However, in order to ensure impartiality and reduce costs, councils are now considering contracting out the review process.

A grand plan

D. Philips

Roof, Nov./Dec. 2009, p. 46-47

Section 11 of the Homelessness, etc (Scotland) Act 2003 places a duty on landlords and lenders to notify the relevant local authority if they raise an action to evict tenants or repossess a property. A project in Glasgow got the agreement of 18 social landlords to give them notice of all eviction cases in the South West of the city. Lenders also agreed to encourage potential homeless people to seek assistance from the project. Applicants were assessed and referred to relevant services.

Shown the door

K. Sacks-Jones

Roof, Nov./Dec. 2009, p. 34-35

Official statistics show a steep drop in the number of applicants accepted as statutory homeless by local authorities over the past five years. However, evidence from nine mystery shoppers sent to local authorities in London suggests that the fall in acceptances may be due to single homeless people being denied the assistance to which they are legally entitled. Sometimes shoppers received no advice or assistance, and sometimes the advice was so limited as to be meaningless. In many cases the information or advice was misleading, wrong or totally inappropriate.

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