Homelessness Law and Policy - LW646

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5) PROF H Carr


LW588 or LW614.


Not available to non-law students.



This module will provide students with a strong grounding in the technical law relating to homelessness, as well as an understanding of some of the key policy debates which underlie this legal framework. The module opens with discussion of social understandings of home and homelessness, before moving to a detailed assessment of the current framework of England's homelessness law. It will examine statute and case law relating to the duties on local authorities to respond to homelessness, including the definition of homelessness; who is "eligible" for housing; the key concepts of priority need and the meaning of vulnerability; what happens when someone is considered to be “intentionally homeless”; and the impact of a connection to another local authority. The review of the contemporary legal structure closes with discussion of the procedure which homeless applicants will undergo and a review of the law and policy relating to allocation policies. The second part of the module places this legal structure in context by examining the history of homelessness provision and regulation; considering responses to homelessness in other jurisdictions and examining the regulation and perceptions of street homelessness.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

One hour lecture and one hour seminar weekly.


Spring term.

Method of assessment

100% coursework consisting of two pieces of written work.

Indicative reading

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the relevant statutory provisions relevant to homelessness.
2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the policy frameworks underpinning state provision for the homeless including an historical and comparative understanding.
3. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of how devolution has impacted upon legal responses to homelessness throughout the UK.
4. Demonstrate a critical understanding of responses to street homelessness and how those responses inform contemporary understandings of the state.
5. Critically assess claims about the progressive potential of homelessness law and policy and its relationship to broader social policies such as addressing social exclusion.

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