In 2017, the Public Interest Law Centre successfully challenged the Home Office. The High Court ordered the end of Immigration Enforcement operations bringing together street outreach services (commissioned by local authorities and the Mayor of London) and Immigration Enforcement teams as well as the policy under which they operated that had effectively criminalised EEA nationals for rough sleeping.

The Oak Foundation has kindly agreed to fund PILC to extend the remit of the challenge to monitor and defend the rights of EEA homeless migrants throughout Brexit transition.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of the project is to ensure homeless people from the European Economic Area (EEA):

* receive access to specialist legal representation,

* learn, defend and enforce their rights.

The Public Interest Law Centre will take a strategic litigation approach to public bodies’ policies and practice where those are judged to infringe homeless people’s rights.

Learnings will also be shared to support front line organisations and ensure the impact of test cases is promoted and to maximise the impact of the project across the sector.

Beneficiaries

The project will benefit EEA nationals who are homeless (sleeping rough, sofa surfing, vulnerably housed) or at risk of homelessness.

Activities

* Phone Advice and Referral Line

* Free bi-weekly Legal Advice surgeries

* Problem identifier sessions with frontline organisations

* Roundtable discussions

* ‘Know your Right’ factsheet for homeless people and advisors

* Training on the opportunities and limitations of Public Law as a tool for defending the rights of homeless people.

Some of the issues we are interested in include:

* Compensation claims on behalf of those affected by unlawful Home Office policies

* Routes to settlement during Brexit transition (especially for those who might lack the necessary documents)

* Continued criminalisation of homeless people (Street-level enforcement)

* Discriminatory treatment of European homeless people (Welfare and Housing rights)

* Monitoring of the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act