When determining who is in priority need for housing, local authorities must decide the difficult question of whether a person is more vulnerable than the “ordinary homeless person”: R v Camden LBC ex parte Pereira (1998) 31 HLR 317. For the first time, the Court of Appeal has given some guidance as to the characteristics of that mythical creature.
Craig Johnson applied to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council as homeless and claimed to be in priority need as he was vulnerable: he was a recidivist offender, a recovering drug user and also claimed to suffer from depression and crippling knee pain. Solihull accepted that he used drugs, but felt that he could stay clear of them, but held that in any event, if he relapsed into drug use, this would not be unusual for a homeless person. He was not, therefore, more vulnerable than the ordinary homeless person.
Catherine Rowlands examines the circumstances where a successful defence relying on Article 8 might arise in Local Government Lawyer.