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Emergency accommodation for street homeless care leaver

Expert Advice consultancy case study


Shelter's Expert Advice service supported social services to secure accommodation for a street homeless care leaver. The person had tried to make a homelessness application but the local authority housing team did not offer emergency accommodation.

We advised that the local authority has a duty to provide emergency accommodation where there is a reason to believe an applicant may be homeless, eligible, and in priority need.

The situation

A social worker contacted the expert advice line about a single street homeless 20 year old. The client was care experienced and fostered by the local authority at the age of 16 and 17.

The client had approached the local authority housing team for help. The team produced a personalised housing plan but did not offer emergency accommodation.

The social worker wanted to know the client's options. They thought the housing team should provide emergency accommodation and wanted to know who was liability for accommodation costs.

Our advice

Our expert adviser discussed the case in detail with the social worker. They set out the homeless application process and the housing team's responsibilities.

The adviser highlighted that the client automatically had a priority need as they were 20 years old and had been in care when they were 16 and 17. The housing team should have provided emergency accommodation.

Liability for accommodation costs

The client is responsible for paying for the accommodation. They may be able to claim support from housing benefit to cover the cost. This is means-tested/

The local authority must assess the suitability of accommodation they offer, including its affordability.

The outcome

The client was accommodated by the housing team with the support of social services.

Further resources

Shelter Legal

Priority need of people who have been in care - when a person who was in care as a child has priority need for accommodation when they apply as homeless

Young people and care leavers housing rights

Suitability of homelessness accommodation - what makes accommodation offered by a local authority suitable

How housing benefit is calculated - housing benefit calculation stages

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