Late homeless appeals and legal aid cuts – key guidance from the Court of Appeal
Late homeless appeals and legal aid cuts – key guidance from the Court of Appeal

Today, the Court of Appeal handed down an important judgment on homelessness, in which Shelter intervened. It hammers a welcome stake in the ground regarding access to justice for people struggling with homelessness, highlighting the importance of legal aid in ensuring that people can appeal decisions under the Homelessness Reduction Act about whether they will be housed.

In Al Ahmed v London Borough of Tower Hamlets [2020] EWCA Civ 51, Mr Al Ahmed suffered from a number of medical conditions … Read more

Supreme Court rules that subsistence benefits should not be used to cover rent shortfalls
Supreme Court rules that subsistence benefits should not be used to cover rent shortfalls

The Supreme Court has just given judgment in the case of Samuels v Birmingham City Council, where the court was asked to consider whether a home should have been considered affordable where the housing benefit did not meet the full rent.

This is an important test case, in which Shelter intervened. It will have major implications for local authority homelessness services and put further pressure on the government to increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates back to the bottom … Read more

The Supreme Court considers intentional homelessness
The Supreme Court considers intentional homelessness

Last week, we intervened in a key case concerning homelessness, where a family who were evicted because of a Local Housing Allowance (LHA) shortfall took their challenge to the Supreme Court. (Samuels v Birmingham City Council UKSC 2017/0172). LHA is the housing benefit provided to those renting in the private sector. But, as a result of housing benefit policy and rapidly rising rents, the benefit provided increasingly does not cover the rents people have to pay.

Issues in the caseRead more
The benefit cap is harming struggling families
The benefit cap is harming struggling families

At Shelter, our solicitors and many other legal aid housing lawyers frequently represent families who are struggling in unimaginable ways under the household benefit cap. This policy, introduced in 2013 and revised in 2016, caps the amount in state benefits that an individual household can claim per year. Many families affected by the cap are now at breaking point.

A grandmother who gave up work to care for her five grandchildren, only for her benefits to be capped because … Read more