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Homeless singles not getting help they’re legally entitled to’

PUBLISHED: 12:49 06 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:31 05 October 2010

TOWN Halls are failing to help single homeless people with advice and assistance they're legally entitled to, an undercover’ investigation has found. The homeless charity Crisis made 45 visits to local authorities and found help “so poor” that if they had been real cases many could have ended up on the streets

By Mike Brooke

TOWN Halls are consistently failing to help single homeless people and provide assistance they are legally entitled to, an undercover’ investigation has found.

Members of the homeless charity Crisis made 45 visits to local authorities across London and say they found the help “so poor” that if they had been real cases many could have ended up on the streets.

Everyone officially recognised as homeless’ is entitled to advice and help, according to the law and Government guidance, the charity’s HQ at Whitechapel in East London points out.

SUCH DISREGARD’

“We never imagined we would uncover such consistently poor responses and such disregard for homeless people’s situation,” said the charity’s chief executive Leslie Morphy.

“All the new homes recently announced by the Government will not help single homeless a jot if they’re simply turned away as soon as they ask for help.”

The Crisis survey found councils using the priority’ test “as an excuse not to give single homeless people minimum advice and assistance.”

GATE KEEPING’

This included gate-keeping’ with at least 13 instances where the secret applicant’ didn’t even get to talk to a housing officer and was turned away by a receptionist telling them they were not a priority.’

Only nine of the 45 carrying out the survey were given the chance to make an application. At least two met the priority need’ criteria, including a pregnant woman, but none were offered a roof over their head.

Crisis is calling for action to ensure all homeless people, not just those who meet the limited priority need’ criteria, receive advice and assistance they need.

Councils should be proactive in this time of recession, it insists, and treat all homeless people according to the law.


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