LEGAL STATUS

Does a legal status of “homeless people” or “homelessness” involve a particular object of legal protection? What is the basic protection that is received in your jurisdiction?

SPAIN

No, in Spain there has been no global and territorially coordinated approach to homelessness policies to date, so no particular status is recognized for this collective. 


The basic protection that homeless people receive refers to social assistance resources, which results in the institutionalization of the person but does not achieve their integration. For this reason, the regulatory framework set out in the Integrated National Strategy for the Homeless seeks to recognize rights that vitally affect homeless people: the right to "life security", the right to housing, the right to health protection and social assistance.

BELGIUM

The Regulation of 7 November 2002 and the Regulation of 14 June 2018, which amends this regulation, provide for a number of measures and rights for homeless people:

- Recognition of Centres

- Emergency assistance

- Emergency assistance:

  • Reception Homes 

  • Assistance at home

  • Housing first

  • Outreach

  

FRANCE

Yes, there is, first of all, a principle of unconditional rescue of homeless people, regardless of their administrative status.


This principle translates into emergency accommodation for all homeless people in distress. The emergency rescue measures, which allows to ensure shelter, food and hygiene, imply an immediate and unconditional support; only the distress criterion is to be taken into account. In addition, there is a continuity of care: the person rescued must be able to benefit from personalized support and remain there, for as long as they wish, until an orientation is offered. 

SWITZERLAND

"Homeless people" do not have a specific legal status; however, homelessness is the most extreme form of poverty and thus part of many different legal regulations in the field of social welfare, combatting poverty and the right to adequate housing and shelter. 


The right to adequate housing is partially protected on a constitutional level (in general) and implemented in different aspects in the jurisprudence. For example, in connection with eviction, tenant protection or discrimination in the housing sector in the Swiss Code of Obligations.

UNITED KINGDOM

In 2002, the UK Government amended homelessness legislation to:

   “(a) ensure a more strategic approach to tackling and preventing homelessness, in particular by requiring a homelessness strategy for every housing authority district; and

   (b) strengthen the assistance available to people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness by extending the priority need categories to homeless 16 and 17 year olds; care leavers aged 18, 19 and 20; people who are vulnerable as a result of time spent in care, the armed forces, prison or custody, and people who are vulnerable because they have fled their home because of violence.”

UNITED STATES (NY CITY & STATE)

There is no such legal protection attached to homeless individuals on a federal level.  

Our research indicates that the legal status of “homeless persons” exists only within the context of the New York City Social Services Law provision which regulates the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (“HAP”).  The HAP establishes the homeless housing and assistance fund, to fund capital programs sponsored by non-profit corporations, charitable organizations, public corporations and municipalities to improve the supply of shelter and other housing arrangements for homeless people. 

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