The (fictitious) Homeless Persons Act 2018 (‘the Act’) permits local councils to allocate funding to place homeless people into social housing.
S1) The council must take into account age and health of homeless people needing housing, although other factors may also be considered if the council thinks fit. Wherever possible, housing placements should be necessary and appropriate.
S2) The council must decide to make permanent any ‘temporary’ housing placements where homeless people are particularly vulnerable.
S3) No funding will be available for people who have deliberately made themselves homeless.
Mary and her child had been temporarily placed in a council flat in West End since her husband was arrested for threatening them both. Last week Mary wrote to the council to ask for the placement to be made permanent as she regarded it as her home, her GP confirmed her mental health had improved whilst living there, and her child was settled at the local school. Boris, the leader of the council, replied that he was too busy to meet Mary and refused to make the placement permanent. He said Mary already had a home with her husband to go back to, and anyway wasting money on women who choose to leave their husbands would badly affect his chance of remaining Council Leader in the forthcoming elections. When Mary asked for a meeting to explain her position, Boris said he was too busy to meet and, further, there were no permanent homes available. The best he could offer was a permanent room in a retirement home, warning if Mary did not accept it then she would be making herself deliberately homeless.
John is unmarried and is a Councillor at West End Council. He has just sold his home and asked Boris for a temporary placement in a two-bedroomed house near to the Council building. Boris agreed, and a day later decided to make the placement permanent. Boris told other Council Members that “Councillors need to live close to work to do their jobs properly and as John was homeless he obviously qualified”.
The Anti-Homeless Advisory Service (AHAS), a local group who lobbies Government on homelessness issues, has heard about Boris’ decision regarding John and wishes to challenge it.
Advise Mary and AHAS, citing only Public Law Judicial Review issues in your answer.
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