Policy report - Rights and wrongs: the homelessness safety net 30 years on

By: Elizabeth O'Hara  Published: November 2007


On the thirtieth anniversary of the original homeless legislation, this report considers the current system of homelessness provision in England, identifying the strengths that need to be retained and areas where improvement is needed.

Summary

When the homelessness legislation was introduced in 1977, it created for the first time an enforceable right to housing for some homeless people. It was a landmark piece of legislation, among the most progressive in the world. Thirty years on, the legislation is still in place and continues to assist thousands of homeless households every year.

Yet homelessness has not gone away. Certain debates and issues still persist. Who can reasonably be described as homeless? Is it their own fault? Who should receive help? Are some homeless households more deserving of help than others? At what point should assistance be give and what form should that assistance take? What about those who fall outside of the safety net? 

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