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Vulnerable adult with Covid-19 saved from sofa surfing

Our client had ended up ‘street homeless’ after leaving an abusive relationship, and she suffered from mental health problems arising from the abuse including PTSD.  When the local council had determined that she was not a priority need, she was forced to sofa surf with friends and relations – at a time when Covid-19 was passing through the population like a wildfire.

This woman had suffered from a serious injury at work which left her with damage to her eyesight and extremely vulnerable to infection. Consequently, when she stayed with her mother and siblings, it was important to stay separate from them to manage the risk of infection.

She approached Miles and Partners and Rajea Sultana contacted the council to commence a review under the Homelessness Section 202 Housing Act 1996.

When our client presented with Covid-19 symptoms, we made urgent representations to the council on the basis that it was not appropriate or reasonable for our client to be sofa surfing given her current circumstances.

She was offered temporary accommodation pending review. We made further representations to the council, which were successful as it was determined that she was owed the full duty under Part VII, and she was moved into temporary accommodation.

The case presented a novel issue at the time about the council’s reaction to someone sofa surfing while possibly suffering from Covid-19. Without our urgent and detailed representations on this issue, our client would have continued sofa surfing and endangered the people who were taking her in.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

Rajea Sultana


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