The short answer is "no". Local councils do not have the resources to help people as quickly and as efficiently as any of us would like, and many people find there is very little the local government can do.  There just isn't enough affordable or public housing in central London. Demand far outweighs supply and councils are under-resourced to provide the help that the law requires.

If you are homeless in the UK, your local authority only has a duty to provide housing if you can pass eligibility criteria. Individuals who are not British will often fail "eligibility" hurdle. For those that do pass, the local authority (council) will often only help if you fit into a very narrowly defined definition of "priority need"--a category that includes pregnant women, families with dependent children and victims of natural disaster such as a flood or fire.   

Even for those who seem like they should have a strong case, the barriers can be daunting. On top of all this, individuals who are already homeless often fall between the cracks because they can not document a recent "local connection" to the borough in which they are sleeping rough. For those that do not qualify, there's no support available from local authorities.

In the meantime, people remain homeless, particularly in Greater London, with many sleeping rough even in the coldest months of the year. 

Charities like ours step in to help those who have nowhere else to turn. Churches in the boroughs in which we operate have come together to offer hospitality and support.

The shelters give guests a chance to get rest and regain a bit of security. Meanwhile, Glass Door's caseworkers can work with guests to access the support to which they are entitled. Glass Door caseworkers also help those ineligible for support find jobs and save money for deposits for private rental properties.  

A woman in her forties, we'll call her Alicia, comes regularly to our women's drop-in sessions. When asked what her experience had been like looking for support before turning to us, she had this to say:  

Asking for help, I would get endless referrals. All would tell me:  'You are not entitled.' It was a phrase I came to identify with.

Overview of the homelessness legislation

A summary of the homelessness legislation and the duties, powers and obligations on housing authorities and others towards people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness can be found here: