Homelessness 'shambles' condemned by Housing Specialists

Monday 25 September 2006

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The government's handling of Homelessness policy has this week been described as a "shambles" by two leading housing law specialists from Garden Court Chambers.

Jan Luba QC said today:

'After years of delay, the Government has recently published a new Code of Guidance for housing authorities in England explaining how they should implement homelessness legislation.

Within 10 days of it coming into force, regulations have been made by Ministers which will make parts of the Code redundant and which belatedly seek to put right a significant error in the legislation on which the Code is based.

I alerted practitioners to the error before the Code was published but it has taken over four months to correct it.'

and Liz Davies , another housing barrister, said:

'This is a complete shambles. Housing authorities have been waiting years for this Code. It has been launched over the summer without Parliamentary scrutiny and the fact that it now is full of holes is the perfect illustration of a failure in joined-up government.

The changes made by the latest regulations are to the already labyrinthine rules on eligibility for homelessness assistance. Without an up-to-date Code, housing officials will have real difficulty coping. The Government has not even addressed the fact that part of the rules were declared unlawful by the Court of Appeal as long ago as October 2005. '

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