Beth Kirkland, Law for Life
Law for Life works to ensure that everybody has the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to access justice. Here, head of legal information and pro bono Beth Kirkland introduces new resources to help residents in temporary accommodation, and explains how they can be used.
The use of temporary accommodation (TA) to house families was only meant to deal with emergency cases. But in recent years, its use has grown massively. There are now almost 100,000 households living in temporary accommodation - and this problem is at its most extreme in London.
In our research, we found that TA residents often understand little about their rights , how to get support or hold their property providers accountable, or exactly what ‘TA’ means. We were tasked with drawing together all existing public legal information resources in one useful place on our website for people, either those living in temporary accommodation or those helping them, to find easily and go back to, when needed.
But this was a tricky task. We have a clear set of quality criteria, to ensure that all of the resources we signpost our users to are up to date, accurate, and independent. On the topic of TA, there was very little information online that met our criteria.
The resources and how to use them
A lot of the information out there uses confusing terminology, or includes unreliable information on people’s rights in various forms of non-permanent accommodation. We've created two webpages where you can find resources that we have checked and found to be reliable, legally accurate and up to date:
But we still felt like there wasn’t enough, and there were a lot of gaps. So, we decided to produce something ourselves. We’ve created a short guide for people living in TA: What you need to know about emergency and temporary accommodation.
This new guide is a starting point – we hope to gain feedback on how we might improve and develop it in the coming year.
We hope these resources are useful for people living in TA and support workers helping them. We’re especially keen to hear from people who have used these new resources so that we can make them as useful as possible. If you have any feedback, please take a few minutes to do our short survey