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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2010): Homelessness - UK

Every child matters

J. Underwood

Roof, May/June 2010, p. 40-41

The House of Lords made a landmark decision in the case of G v London Borough of Southwark concerning local authorities' duties to provide accommodation and support for homeless young people aged 16-17. The Lords considered that children's social services, rather than the housing department, must take primary responsibility for dealing with such young people under s.20 of the Children Act 1989. This means that the youth would be taken into local authority care and would be entitled to care leavers' services on reaching 18.

Fit for purpose

H. Springett

Roof, May/June 2010, p. 34-35

Homeowners facing mortgage arrears and possible repossession are uncertain about where to go to get independent advice. Their needs are complex, since they need advice about both debt and housing, including a possible transition to renting. The author calls for the establishment of a dedicated specialist advice service and encouragement to take action early when more can be done to resolve problems.

No room at the refuge

C. Pemberton

Community Care, May 6th 2010, p. 16-17

Of the 100,000 children who run away from home in the UK every year, one in five will come to harm. Many are reluctant to access statutory children's services, and need short term refuges to which they can self-refer and which they can use as a place of safety while longer term plans are made. Despite this need, there are now only five safe beds, in two refuges, in the UK.

[Repossessions]

T. Marshall

Roof, May/June 2010, p. 19-21

A survey has shown that almost a third of households attending court to defend themselves from mortgage repossession are being pushed below the poverty line by rulings intended to keep them in their homes. The courts can only order a stay of execution if borrowers undertake to keep up mortgage payments and reduce the arrears. However it is often impossible for some households to meet such demands and feed and clothe themselves; they simply slide further into debt and face losing their home only a few months later. Courts are powerless to lower mortgage payments to a manageable level.

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