So now we know. In a letter to the solicitors acting for a homeless litigant challenging a decison that they are ineligible for housing assistance under the Housing Act 1996 the Secretary of State of the Home Department has indicated that persons who are granted leave to remain in the UK within the rules, or specifically Appendix FM, will be eligible for housing assistance under the Housing Act 1996 if they are not subject to No Recourse to Public Funds condition. This brings to an end a period of uncertainty caused by the fact that many people granted leave to remain on the basis of their right to family life would previously have been granted leave outside of the rules and would therefore have been eligible for housing assistance pursuant to Class B, Regulation 5 of the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility)(England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294 but are now (ostensibly at least). However, Appendix FM brought such cases within the immigration rules and therefore outside of eligibility for homelessness assistance. The Government now intends to "close up the gap in in eligibility caused when Appendix FM leave was created, and not to extend eligibility to a new class of persons." The precise wording of the proposed amendment is not set out in the letter and the Government have suggested it will take 4 months to change the law. In the meantime time it may be necessary to rely on community care law, including s.1 Localism Act 2011, to obtain housing assistance for vulnerable persons granted leave under Appendix FM and who are not subject to a NRPF condition. Any cases challening the existing apparent ineligibility are likely to be stayed pending the government laying the regulations. We will let you know the precise wording of the proposed amendment as soon as we know..
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