Trying to help people when they’re homeless can involve tackling complex situations that extend way beyond the issue of homelessness itself. It could therefore be the case that, as well as being eligible for assistance under housing law, people might also be experiencing significant difficulties arising from health issues and so be eligible for assistance under social care law.
The National Eligibility Criteria Regulations state that a council must meet eligible needs for care and support when the person’s needs:
a) arise because of a physical or mental health issue, and
b) they are unable to achieve 2 or more specified outcomes, and
c) as a result of (a) and (b) there is likely to be a significant impact on their wellbeing.
The specified outcomes (b) refers to are as follows:
- managing and maintaining nutrition;
- maintaining personal hygiene;
- managing toilet needs;
- being appropriately clothed;
- being able to make use of the adult’s home safely;
- maintaining a habitable home environment;
- developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships;
- accessing and engaging in work, training, education or volunteering;
- making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community including -public transport, and recreational facilities or services; and
- carrying out any caring responsibilities the adult has for a child.
There are circumstances where someone may fit the above criteria but be ineligible for support, for example because they have no recourse to public funds. In any case the responsibility for identifying eligible needs rests with the council and they must provide a written decision of eligibility under s.13(2) of the Care Act (similar to a s.184 notification in housing law).
Now it might be that a person has care and support needs but they don’t meet the threshold for care from the council. If an adult does not have eligible needs the council still has a duty to provide information and advice about what can be done to meet or reduce the needs they do have and prevent and / or delay future needs for care and support from arising where possible.
As always, this post is not a substitute for legal advice. Find out more about assessments in the statutory guidance here.