Has any legal action been taken to protect particularly vulnerable people from becoming homeless?
In Spain, there are aids and subsidies at both national and Autonomous Community level for all persons who do not receive any type of benefit, whose resources are insufficient to meet situations of need. Some of these benefits are: birth and childcare benefits, financial benefits for a child or a minor in foster care, unemployment benefits, benefits due to the termination of activity for self-employed workers.
Furthermore, the Spanish Government has approved social benefits in favour of main residence lessees who are going through an economic and social vulnerability situation caused by COVID-19.
In Brussels, all expulsions of someone of his or her home are prohibited until 31 august 2020, except for expulsions that are justified by a serious and immediate threat to public security that cannot be postponed until 31 august 2020. The police is in charge of supervision over the compliance with this regulation. Similar regulations exist in Wallonia and Flanders, but might have different deadlines.
The winter break (prohibition of eviction measures during the winter season, usually from the 1st of November to the 31st of March) has been extended until July 10, 2020. Consequently, no tenant eviction can take place during this period.
In Paris, it has been extended until October 31, 2020 for social housing tenants. As a result, they could not be evicted before the 31st of March 2021 (thanks to the winter break 2020-2021).
There are certain regulations pertaining to the issues of eviction, tenant protection and discrimination in the housing sector in order to protect people of becoming homeless. In general, those regulations prevent people of immediately becoming homeless by requiring a certain procedure to be passed through by the landlord for example or setting a deadline for the tenant in order to search for another accommodation, before obtaining a legal remedy to force someone out of their home.
With regard to litigation, this is usually in the hands of various charities undertaking pro-bono, or funded by the state “legal aid’ system, for particular persons in their respective individual situations. For example, the charity “Shelter” provides specialist social welfare law advice on housing issues to around 15,000 people each year under legal aid contracts, both face to face and on the telephone. Judicial review is one of the main tools used to challenge the decisions of local authorities to prevent someone from becoming homeless.
UNITED STATES (NY CITY & STATE)
We did not find information regarding legal action taken for people who are vulnerable to becoming homeless. The legal matters we found through our research were for the rights of people who were already homeless.