Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Charity launches campaign to save night shelters

A homelessness charity has launched a petition after Inside Housing highlighted a tribunal ruling that could see dozens of night shelters across England and Wales close.

Emmaus UK is calling on welfare minister Lord David Freud to ensure that councils do not stop housing benefit payments to night shelters.

Inside Housing revealed last week a number of councils were taking an upper tribunal judgement in Anglesey last year as case law and using it to review whether they pay housing benefit for people in night shelters in their areas.

The judge in the Anglesey case ruled the council was not liable to pay housing benefit to a man at a shelter in Holyhead because he did not store his possessions on site and had no automatic right to stay there from one night to the next. It could, therefore, not be deemed his permanent dwelling, the judge ruled.

The Emmaus campaign is being led by John Gall, from Emmaus Cambridge, who said: ‘As someone who was homeless for best part of a decade, I know first-hand the devastating impact this can have on people’s physical and mental health. Night shelters were a crucial refuge for me when I had nowhere else to go. I’m still in touch with a night shelter in Chichester which supported me when I needed their help the most.’

The petition can be found here.

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