10th October marks the eighth annual World Homeless Day, an initiative set up to help highlight the difficulties homeless people have to endure and find ways of combatting and ending homelessness.
It is an initiative deserving of more attention than ever before with recent alarming statistics revealing the true extent of homelessness in the UK and highlighting the urgent need for improvements.
This week the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) released a report that revealed that over 440 homeless people have died on the streets and in temporary accommodation since October 2017. Among those who perished include a former soldier and an astrophysicist.
Rising levels of homelessness have been attributed to austerity, the rise in rent prices and a nationwide lack of social housing.
Research by housing charity Shelter further revealed that single mothers and their children are being disproportionately affected by rising levels of homelessness in England. Shelter’s analysis of government figures show that 1 in 55 single parent families became homeless in 2017-18 with 92% of them being mothers.
Further problems arise with the state of the temporary accommodation being allocated. Those who are fortunate enough to have their applications for accommodation accepted by councils often end up living in houses that are in no fit state for habitation.
Many find themselves living in properties where they must share a kitchen and bathroom with up to nine other strangers, others are placed in properties in a state of disrepair with problems such as damp, infestation and no heating. Furthermore, the occupants live with a constant air of uncertainty as they can be moved at any time from one temporary accommodation to the next – often with only a day’s notice.
Sadly, attitudes towards homeless people are not always understanding. Earlier this year, the announcement of the Royal Wedding in Windsor resulted in the local council ordering the removal of homeless people from the streets with no offer or promise of long-term help or solutions. Deeming them, in essence, a scourge on society and something that should be swept away rather than helped.
The current state of affairs means that the number of vulnerable people in need of assistance is rising at an unprecedented rate. This however, does not deter our team of committed housing solicitors at Duncan Lewis who assist clients across England and Wales throughout the year.
The team are well-prepared and experienced in assisting those who have been made or face being made homeless. This includes those who cannot live at home due to violence or abuse as well as those who are living in overcrowded or unhygienic accommodation.
The team is particularly skilful at preparing applications for judicial review in cases of homelessness when there has been an unlawful delay or refusal to accept a homelessness application by a council in offering housing to a homeless family or individual.
Director of Housing, Manjinder Kaur Atwal, highlights just some of the services she and her team provide;
“People become homeless for lots of different reasons; affordability unemployment, poverty, relationship breakdown and life events can lead people to become homeless. Most people assume you have to be sleeping on the streets to be considered homeless but you may be eligible for help from your local authority if you are:
If the authorities reject your homeless application, you are entitled to have the decision reviewed. Our dedicated Housing team can advise and assist in preparing you review submissions and appeal against the authorities’ decision.”
Manjinder Kaur Atwal can advise on social housing, homelessness and all other housing issues. For expert housing advice, contact Manjinder on 020 3114 1269 or email her at email@example.com.
Duncan Lewis Housing Solicitors
Duncan Lewis Housing Solicitors can guide clients in any matter or issues arising with local housing authorities, housing applications, tenants, landlords, ownership and repairs. The Duncan Lewis housing team specialises in representation in all social housing proceedings including reviews, appeals and judicial review relating to homelessness, disrepair, succession for tenants and neighbourhood disputes against local authorities.
If you have any housing related queries or require representation please do not hesitate to contact our team of expert solicitors on 0333 772 0409.