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Homelessness - Essay Example

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A homeless person is generally known to be one without a settled or permanent accommodation (Tania 2001). There is also another less observed but equally grave form of homelessness, often referred to as concealed homelessness, among persons housed temporarily by friends or family etc…
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Download file to see previous pages... Such persons are still homeless even if they have roofs over their heads because they do not have rights to stay where they live. In England and Wales, officially recognised homeless persons or those threatened with homelessness are entitled to help from their local councils. Such help is given based on priority need as determined by the council’s evaluation. Persons who will be considered to have a priority need are those with dependent children, are pregnant, have been rendered homeless by emergencies like fire or floods and are vulnerable because of old age, mental and physical disabilities (Wilson 2013). This paper will discuss priority needs, the housing homeless persons Act, effects of benefit cuts, domestic violence, vulnerable people and the positive and negative results of government action. In many parts of England, demand for housing is causing prices to go up and beyond what a large percentage of the population can afford. In turn, this increases pressure on the sectors of rented housing and effectively raising prices, which culminates into more citizens applying for social housing. However, the large number of applications overwhelms the availability. The local councils offer assistance to persons who meet the criteria described as statutory homelessness or meet the priority need requirements as described by the homelessness Act. However, those who do not meet the criteria and are not eligible for help are referred to as intentionally homeless and are only covered by the provisions of non-statutory homelessness. A key test aspect used in determining whether a homeless person without children may be considered as having priority need to be housed under the homeless Act is vulnerability. In terms of homelessness, vulnerability implies that a person would be more exposed to harm in the event that they become homeless than other homeless persons. To pass the vulnerability test, one is required to prove that homelessness would be of a greater injurious impact on them than it would on the typical homeless persons. Whoever is can prove that their homeless status is unintentional, are eligible for public funds and have a connection to the locality will possess priority need. In England, such persons include those aged between 16 and 17 years; those below 21 years and were previously under the care of local authorities while aged between 16 and 18 years; those aged 21 years and over and are vulnerable because of getting out of care by the local authority; those made vulnerable by leaving prison or the armed forces. In Wales, more preference is given to women with dependent children or pregnancies; those facing risk of sexual or financial exploitation; and those exposed to domestic violence (Wilson 2013). However, the Department for Transport and Local Government has regularly opined that local authorities should offer assistance and advice to all its homeless subjects under their areas of jurisdiction regardless of whether they qualify under priority needs or not (DTLG 2002). The Homelessness Act of 2002, applicable in England and Wales makes reforms to the Housing Act of 1996 regarding homelessness and how social housing accommodation is allocated, which has been subjected to wide consultations (Harding 2004). All local housing authorities are required by law to formulate and implement strategic approaches suitable to tackle homelessness within their jurisdictions since it is a devolved service. Local authorities are charged with six obligations which are strengthening help to the homeless ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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