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NHAS help ex-offender with mental health issues and learning difficulties into emergency accommodation

Posted on 22/03/21

Our free advice line provides specialist advice on housing, housing debt, and welfare benefit issues to help you support your clients.

One of our advisers recently supported a local advice agency worker in achieving emergency accommodation for a male client.

Who got in touch with the NHAS advice line?   

Local advice agency worker.

What was the problem?

A male client with learning difficulties and mental health problems, including paranoid schizophrenia, became street homeless after being released from prison when his halfway house accommodation came to an end.

The client approached the local authority to make a homelessness application but was refused as he was unable to provide any identification.

What we did

Our adviser discussed the case with the agency, setting out that there is nothing in homelessness legislation that states the local authority must obtain proof of identity before proceeding with a request for homeless assistance.

They only need a reason to believe’ an applicant is homeless, eligible and in priority need before making enquiries to see what duties may be owed.

Given that applicants, particularly those who are street homeless or discharged from prison, may not be able to provide this documentation, this practice could also be considered discriminatory (Equality Act, 2010).

Full advice was provided on making a homelessness application, including the responsibilities on the local authority to make enquiries and when to provide accommodation and assistance.

Details of local services that may be able to assist the client were also provided.

Outcome

The adviser contacted us again to confirm they had approached the local authority who had agreed to provide emergency accommodation for their client whilst they carried out enquiries.

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