Case study: Mrs F

How we helped Mrs F with her housing situation.

Mrs F, our elderly and vulnerable client was homeless when she attended our offices in a very distressed state. She was in poor health, having suffered from 2 strokes in less than 2 years. Mrs F had spent the last month immediately before coming to see us sofa surfing and/or sleeping on the streets. She was on various medication for stroke prevention and control of high blood pressure. Being homeless made it difficult for her to store and comply with medication. Further, the stress of being homeless was having a detrimental effect on her health.

Mrs F had presented as homeless to her local authority, however it would appear that the local authority employed "gatekeeping" tactics by refusing a homelessness application from her, in contravention of the Local Authority’s duty under Housing legislation. She was instead advised to find her own accommodation.

The Local Authority in question were clearly acting in breach of their statutory duties by sending the client away without accepting her housing application and offering her temporary accommodation. We wrote to the local authority setting Mrs F’’s circumstances and made submissions as to why they were acting unlawfully. We informed them that unless they accepted her homelessness application and accommodated Mrs F forthwith, we would be advising her to make an application to the duty judge of the Administrative Court for an emergency relief without further notice to them.

Upon our intervention, the local authority immediately accepted the homelessness application and placed Mrs F in temporary accommodation. Inquiries were carried out and Mrs F is delighted to now have a permanent home in a flat in the area where her friends are.

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