What are 'Reasonable Steps' Towards Homelessness Prevention?

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Cardiff Law School

Abstract

The purpose of this research will be to investigate the application, by local authorities, of homelessness provisions contained within the HWA 2014, and highlight any disparity in interpretation. The ultimate aim will be to provide an insight into the effectiveness of the legislation and argue for a clarification of the language used within homelessness provisions of HWA 2014. The primary research question will be :-

What effect does the ambiguous legislative term 'reasonable steps' have on homelessness prevention success rates in Wales?

This project would significantly contribute to arguments around the effectiveness of homelessness prevention initiatives, street-level bureaucracy, indeterminate legislative language, and the legal consciousness and vulnerability of applicants as a social group. Findings would present a strong argument to policy-makers for clarity in the law, leading to a more equal application of the legislation and improved prevention figures. I have circulated my MSc thesis professionally, which has already increased awareness within the charity sector. Crucially, the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 brings a legal duty for local authorities in England to provide homelessness assistance and relief. This Act mirrors the indeterminate language of HWA 2014, requiring 'reasonable steps' be made toward homelessness prevention.

Homelessness remains a crucial socio-economic problem in today's society. Issues leading to homelessness are incredibly complex, and it is vitally important that the law effectively and efficiently outlines a clear level of responsibility owed by Government to those in need. Homelessness is a highly emotive issue. High on the political agenda, and regularly debated and discussed in public forums and the national media, it is essential that the public see equal and fair legal treatment of the most vulnerable members of society.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2114181 Studentship ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2018 31/12/2021 Kevin Williams