Two Steps Forward: Homeless Link welcomes key decisions

Friday, 12 March 2021 - 2:47pm

Thursday 11 March was good day for people facing homelessness. Two key decisions mean life-saving services can now be accessed.

Firstly our colleagues at Shelter won a High Court judgement which has finally clarified that councils can lawfully provide emergency accommodation to everyone, regardless of whether they are otherwise ineligible for support.  This has finally removed the ambiguity for councils and confirmed their powers to remove barriers to support for migrants as long as the public health emergency persists.

Since Everyone In was announced last year, we’ve seen huge inconsistency between councils on the support offered to homeless people with particular types of immigration status that meant they had No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF). In the absence of clear direction from Government, we know that while many local areas have continued find the best solutions possible for this group, others have been uncertain of their powers and refused support, leaving many vulnerable people out in the cold. Government must now listen to our calls for clarified national guidance to back this up.

Homeless Link’s Director of Social Change Fiona Colley welcomed the judgement: “The Court has made it very clear now that Councils have the legal power to help people with No Recourse to Public Funds during the pandemic. Some local authorities have already been working this way and now there is no reason for any authority to withhold support.”

The second piece of good news came when the Government announced on Thursday that anyone in England who is homeless should be vaccinated now against coronavirus. People who are homeless have been moved into Priority Cohort 6 of the JCVI priorities, which is the group currently being vaccinated.

Fiona Colley wrote: “It is great news that the government have listened to Homeless Link’s members and confirmed that people experiencing homelessness can now be vaccinated. This recognises the vulnerability of the people that we work with and the hidden health problems that many face. I urge every local area to ensure this happens as soon as possible!

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Rob Cartridge

Head of Communications and Advocacy (Acting)

Rob Cartridge is a Campaigns and Communications Manager at Homeless Link.