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Council Duty? Fleeing violence.

Council Duty? Fleeing violence.

Topic created on, Friday, July 14, 2017 , from Penzance
I have a couple who are fleeing violence from a drug gang. The police were involved but the couple did not to want to make a statement because they were to scared. The county they came from gave them a travel warrant and advised them to come to the county I work in. They were placed in bed and breakfast for one night only. They are now being told that although they are fleeing this violent situation, they are not vulnerable enough to make them priority need. I have asked that this is put in writing so we can seek further advice from Shelter. I am waiting for the contact from the first council to call me as I want to know exactly why they were given the warrant when they handed in their keys and stopped their housing benefit to flee. I made contact with the police who confirmed this situation happened and also confirmed the couple did not want to make a statement. I would appreciate any thoughts on this situation. Can a council tell them that although they are fleeing a violent situation, they do not need to help them as they have no other support needs to make them priority? Thanks Anj

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(Director), from Worksop Hi Anj For the Council to have a duty to rehouse them under homelessness legislation, they need to pass 5 criteria: Eligible: This simply means that they have recourse to public funds e.g. some foreign nationals may not be eligible to receive public funds. Homeless or threatened with homelessness within 28 days: In this case the council may or may not consider them to be homeless, depending on whether their old property is still available to them and whether it is reasonable to continue to occupy it or return there. What is "reasonable" is often down to the Homelessness Officer's interpretation/opinion. Priority Need: This is in very basic terms, in in the absence of an automatic priority need status e.g. having children living with them, an assessment of whether the applicant is more vulnerable than other homeless people in a similar situation. - This is the criteria that most single people and childless couples fail on. Not Intentionally Homeless: This means that the applicant did not do something or fail to do something that as a foreseeable result would lead to them losing their accommodation. I don't know enough about the couple's action/behaviour to know whether this would apply in their case. Local connection: The applicant must have a local connection to the local authority to which they are applying there are some exceptions to this, e.g. fleeing DV. As you can see from the above, the mere fact of fleeing a violent situation does not give them a Priority Need under homelessness legislation, so they would generally be expected to find and secure their own accommodation.

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