The future of legal duties owed to homeless people

A-rough-sleeper-on-the-st-007Z2K was delighted to be invited last week to the Parliamentary launch of Crisis’ independent review of the legal duties owed to homeless people. This review was conducted by an expert panel, including representatives of homelessness charities and local authorities. Its purpose was “to consider and recommend legislative change in order to prevent and tackle single homelessness more effectively, while ensuring the current entitlements for families and others who are assessed as in priority need and might be owed the main statutory homelessness duty were not undermined”.

The second half of this objective is an important caveat. Z2K helps many single homeless people who have no chance of being accepted as being vulnerable and in priority need by their authority, and so we think Crisis is absolutely right to press for a stronger safety net for its service users. However, given the way Housing Ministers have turned a blind eye to how the growing number of homeless families with children, and vulnerable single people in priority need have been denied their legal right to pursue a formal application in recent years, there is clearly a risk the current safety net for some will be eroded at the same time it is improved for non-priority households. Continue reading

Z2K on the London Legal Walk 2016

lwOn Monday 16th May a team of 26 Z2K staff, volunteers and former clients descended on the 2016 London Legal Walk. The Z2K team was just one of hundreds of teams from all across the legal and advice sector.

The walk stretches 10km around London, starting off at the Royal Courts of Justice, ambling along the embankment, through St James Park and Hyde Park before looping around the serpentine and heading back to the start. It was a lovely sunny day and all in the all the walk took us around three hours, but this included toilet and ice cream breaks! Continue reading

What is ‘gatekeeping’ and why does it matter?

landlord-eviction-rightsMr H is facing eviction. He has never had problems with paying the rent, but the property is being sold. Following court proceedings, a possession order was granted and bailiffs are due to turn up in two weeks’ time. Mr H is a French national and has been in the UK for over ten years. His daughter was born a few years after his arrival in the UK and now lives with Mr H and his partner. He had worked in a full-time job until a few weeks ago, when he was made redundant, and he now claims Jobseekers’ Allowance. Continue reading

Case study: another family successfully housed

e15Our most recent success story is that of Jemma Nicholls (name changed). Jemma was an internal referral from the prevention team of Z2K in July 2015. She is a 28 year old mother of two children under 5.

Jemma was found intentionally homeless by Westminster Council in 2015 because she refused a property as it wasn’t suitable for her needs. She wasn’t aware refusing a property would lead to her and her children being street homeless and the council having no duty to act. Luckily, she was able to stay with her mum, but the property was seriously overcrowded. This put an intense strain on an already difficult relationship and was obviously damaging for her children. Continue reading

London’s new Mayor and the Housing Crisis challenge

city-hall-att2_(660x440)_(2)The election of Sadiq Khan as London’s new Mayor comes at a time when the Capital’s housing crisis is at its worst since the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.  No doubt, he has many other issues in his in-tray, but trying to find ways of ensuring the implementation of some pretty ambitious manifesto promises on housing must be high on his list of priorities.  With so many of our clients homeless or living on a knife-edge in the private rented sector, Z2K’s hope is that the next four years sees a real increase in the number of secure and genuinely affordable homes. Continue reading