Homelessness charities just won a major victory

Thousands of homeless people will benefit from a landmark Supreme Court ruling which will force councils to firm up the help they offer to those in crisis.

Prior to the Supreme Court judgment on Wednesday, councils had to provide accommodation for individuals they decided were more vulnerable than the average homeless person - something described by Shelter as "inhumane".

The challenge, supported by Shelter and Crisis, was brought by people who councils had not deemed vulnerable, including a former convict with a heroin problem who was in poor mental and physical health.

Now councils will have to widen that definition to provide housing for all of those judged as vulnerable compared to a non-homeless person. The ruling will be in effect from today.

Hannah Gousy, Senior policy officer for Crisis, said the new "important distinction" would help more single homeless people be considered a priority for housing from councils.

But while the ruling was welcomed, housing charities are warning that there is still "a long way to go". Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said:

The legal entitlements for single homeless people remain inadequate and many will still be turned away from help – cold, desperate and forgotten by wider society. At the same time, central Government must ensure councils have the funding they need to support people out of homelessness for good.

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