Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham City Council 'not turning away homeless'

Birmingham City Council Image copyright PA
Image caption Four people had made claims against the authority, but council bosses disputed them

England's largest housing authority does not "systemically" turn away homeless applicants, a judge has ruled.

Four homeless people took legal action against Birmingham City Council, claiming individuals were being denied statutory rights.

But at the High Court, Mr Justice Hickinbottom ruled against all four.

Figures did not support a proposition that as a policy or in practice homeless applicants were being systemically rejected, he said.

The judge said in each of the four cases he had concluded there had been no breach of duty or no substantial breach of duty.

He said the council was the largest housing authority in the country and owned 63,000 "housing units".

In a written ruling, the judge said Birmingham had "substantial areas of significant social deprivation" and the homeless population might be expected to be higher than in other areas.

But he added: "The statistical figures do not give any support to the proposition that, as a policy or approach in practice, the council is systemically turning away homeless applicants."

The judge said claimants who made an application for housing as a homeless person claimed the manner in which the council dealt "with his or her application was unlawful; and, further, that that manner reflected systemic failings".

He stated: "They say that the council, advertently or inadvertently, both in their own specific cases and generally, discourage and divert applications so that individuals are denied their statutory rights to have their situation properly inquired into and be given interim accommodation whilst those inquiries are being made."

But the judge said claimants had failed to prove any breach of statutory duty.

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