Gatekeeping at the housing office

housing action successGatekeeping is the term used to describe the practice of councils turning homeless people away when they request help.  This practice is unlawful, but we hear examples of it happening every time we leaflet outside the housing office.

Our sister group Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth (HASL) has been campaigning against gatekeeping at their local housing Office.  They have prepared a Pledge to End Gatekeeping and Disrespect at Southwark housing office.

Every local authority is different, and while we don’t have exactly the same experience of gatekeeping as HASL, we have certainly encountered gatekeeping at Haringey Council and other local authorities.

Examples include:

  • Private tenants who are facing eviction are told that their homelessness applications will not be considered until they bring in a signed copy of their eviction notice on the day of their eviction.
  • EEA workers being refused an assessment unless they earn a minimum of £153 a week (the threshold for paying national insurance contributions).  In fact, EEA workers who are in “genuine and effective” employment are entitled to housing assistance from local authorities.
  • Refusing to consider an application from a survivor of domestic violence, and telling her that she must instead apply to the authority in the area she had left.

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, then see our leaflet on your housing rights for more information.


August 26, 2016  Tags: ,   Posted in: INFORMATION