I had a client come to see me recently in respect of housing issues. He had been served with a Possession Order. This client had a 2 year old child and was informed by the Local Authority if he was not able to re-house himself, the child would be accommodated by the Local Authority while assessments were being carried out. I advised the client that the Local Authority do have a legal duty to accommodate children of all ages who present as homeless or at risk of immediate homelessness.
However, children’s charity Coram Voice within their Report, “the Door is Closed”, alleges that the Councils are not doing enough to protect children and they are wilfully neglecting their legal duties towards vulnerable teenagers. Coram Voice alleges within the Report that Councils were often telling children to go back to their families or leave them to “sofa surf”. The Report goes on to state that, when these options are not available to children, it can be passed to the Council Housing department which will find them accommodation often in hostels for vulnerable adults and without any extra help needed for children in the care arena.
One Solicitor interviewed for the Report said, “some Local Authorities are challenged over and over again. They know what the law is and they know what they should be doing, but deliberately do not do it. They only start to engage when they get a legal challenge”.
As a result of the ‘Door is Closed’ Report and with Coram Voice working with new horizon youth centre in London this seems to be persuading Councils to reopen cases and give homeless young adults their care status retrospectively. As a result, providing them with housing at the same time trying to tackle the problems they face as they make the transition to life living on the streets.
If you have a housing issue whether it be landlord and tenant dispute or concerns over homeless children contact one of our offices in Lincolnshire & Newark or alternatively go to https://www.ringroselaw.co.uk/housing-law/ for further details.