Hundreds win appeals against home refusal

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HUNDREDS of homeless people have won appeals against decisions by Sheffield Council to refuse them accommodation.

A request made under the Freedom of Information Act showed that 312 of 2,375 applicants – some 13 per cent – who challenged the council’s decision to deny them housing between 2006 and 2011 were successful.

The figures also show during the same period, only 6,161 of 19,742 applications for housing from those who are homeless or threatened with homelessness were approved.

The proportion of challenges which were successful is much lower than the national average of 42 per cent.

Councils across the UK carried out 30,525 reviews of decisions taken between 2006 and 2011, 12,780 of which were overturned on appeal.

Kay Boycott, director of communications, policy and campaigns at homelessness charity Shelter, said: “This research provides stark evidence that some councils are not acting in accordance with the law, by denying those who have become homeless the assistance they are entitled to at a time of enormous personal distress.

“It is proof that councils are failing in their duties to provide an adequate safety net for families.”

Zoe Young, Sheffield Council’s acting housing solutions service manager, said: “National legislation governs who we can and can’t help, but these figures do not tell the whole story.

“The number of successful applications relates to the number of households that we have a statutory duty to rehouse.

“In reality, everyone who approaches us who is homeless, or threatened with losing their home, gets an interview to look at all their options.

“In many cases we can help prevent people from becoming homeless, help them find sources of alternative accommodation, or refer them to other organisations that can assist.

“Everyone has a right to ask for a review of our decision not to rehouse them.

“Out of all the reviews we carried out, 13 per cent were overturned, which compares well with the national average of 42 per cent, but we are continually working to improve our service.”