The burden of "proof of a local connection" when presenting to local authorities
When a person experiencing homelessness presents to the Local Authority for support, one of the criteria the LA looks for is proof of a ‘local connection’ (evidence that you have lived in that council's area for six out of the last 12 months or three out of the last five years).
This presents a number of challenges for people who identify as LGBTQ+, many of whom move to a new area to flee family breakdown or abuse to their sexuality / gender identity. This should be enough to bypass the ‘local connection’ criteria, but it requires proof, which means the person asking for help will have to describe their situation in detail. This can be traumatising, or put them in a situation where they feel as though they have to disclose their sexuality or gender identity.
Another criteria that is used by the local authority to assess whether they have a duty of care is whether the person presenting is ‘intentionally homeless’ and in ‘priority need’. You may be considered intentionally homeless if you have decided to leave a family home, unless you can convince a housing officer that it was a detrimental situation for you to live in. The housing officer will make a judgement call, or may ask for this to be evidenced in writing by the family or household that has been left, which may not be possible if the person is fleeing due to family breakdown or abuse.
This results in people, who should by rights be owed a duty of care, ending up being turned away, or choosing never to approach the council in the first place.