Rough Sleepers During Covid

March 11th, 2021 by James Goudie KC

R (Ncube) v Brighton & Hove City Council (2021) EWHC 578 (Admin) concerned the powers available to a unitary local authority, with both housing and social care duties and powers, to provide accommodation for rough sleepers with no recourse to public funds. Section 185 of the Housing Act 1996 renders persons from abroad not eligible for housing assistance. Freedman J’s holdings include that there was power in this case for the authority to provide temporary accommodation pursuant to the emergency power under Section 138 of the Local Government Act 1972 and/or Section 2B of the National Health Service Act 2006, and neither of these routes were a circumvention of Section 185 if the unitary was acting as social services rather than housing authority. However, Section 1 of the Localism Act 2011 could not be relied upon. That would be a circumvention of Section 185.

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