What is homelessness?

People experiencing homelessness are not “The Homeless” and should not be viewed as a homogenous group. They are individuals experiencing varying crises relating to their housing.  Some people are easy to help; others are very hard to help. The only certainty for our staff is that every case they deal with will be different. 

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Homelessness explained 

Homelessness means not having a home – but most people who are homeless don't sleep on the street.  The majority (but not all) of the people who experience a housing crisis can get help relatively quickly from their local authority, which has a legal duty to help them. They may be homeless and spend a short while living in temporary accommodation, but it is unlikely they will be forced to sleep rough. 

Where there are complicating factors – like substance abuse and mental illness – people may be referred onto providers of specialist accommodation like Framework. 

The law 

The Housing Act 1996 (with the Homelessness reduction Act 2017 amendments) defines homelessness as: 

  • Having no accommodation available for occupation  in the UK or elsewhere
  • Living in accommodation that it is unfit for habitation
  • Living in an unreasonable environment (for example under threat of violence)
  • A person is threatened with homelessness if it is likely that he will be homeless within 56 days
  • A person is also threatened with homelessness if (a) a valid notice has been given to the person under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (orders for possession on expiry or termination of assured short hold tenancy) in respect of the only accommodation the person has that is available for the person’s occupation, and  (b) that notice will expire within 56 days.