DUTY OF SAFE REFUGE
Community, Canton and Federal duty of care exists as an inalienable right to safe refuge i.e. a decent home that's warm and dry, sufficiently spacious, quiet, private, baseline provisions for self-care (including washing, cooking, bedding, kitchen, bathroom, fresh flowing air, clean hot and cold drinkable water), secure from fear of intrusion or any criminal act.
DUTY OF SECURE PROPERTY
Community, Canton and Federal duty of care exists as an inalienable right to secure property i.e. personally accessible (lockable) housing for the citizen's property - can be his or her own home - private, according to his or her wishes, safe from fear of intrusion or any criminal act including theft, vandalism, unwanted interference.
DUTY OF DIGNITY
Dignity is an inalienable right due to all citizens. See Dignity for specific covenant. It is ubiquitous and applies to all relations between Citizen and Community.
Who owes the main duty The duty is owed by the authority to which the application was made unless there is a local connection referral.
Discharging the main duty The main housing duty can be discharged (in this context, discharged means carried out or complied with) with an offer of either temporary or permanent accommodation. Any accommodation secured under the main duty must be suitable. The duty is ongoing, so if temporary accommodation is offered, the authority will be under a duty to find somewhere else for the applicant if and when it comes to an end. A series of different offers of accommodation of a temporary nature can be made before the duty ceases.
Any accommodation must be sufficient to accommodate the applicant and anyone who normally resides, or might reasonably be expected to reside, with her/him. Normally this duty will be met by the provision of a single unit of accommodation, but it could be met by the provision of two separate units of accommodation (such as two adjoining flats or two separate rooms in a hostel, whether self-contained or not), if they are located to enable the family to live together in practical terms.
The authority can discharge its duty to make accommodation available by providing accommodation itself, through another landlord or by providing advice and assistance that is sufficient to secure accommodation. Alternatively, it may be possible for the applicant to be 'homeless at home'. Each of these is examined below:
The authority provides accommodation If the accommodation is from its own stock, any tenancy offered will be non-secure, unless the authority notifies the tenant that it is secure and it is an offer made under Part 6, ie its allocation scheme. The authority can consider using its own hostels, where it operates them, or leasing accommodation from private landlords.
Accommodation provided through another landlord
Where the authority provides accommodation through another landlord, this may be a private registered provider of social housing (PRPSH) or a private landlord. The authority can provide financial assistance, such as a finder's fee or a one-off payment to prevent an eviction, to private landlords in order to secure accommodation for homeless people. Lodgings, hostels, women's refuges, and mobile homes may also be considered, but authorities will need to consider the suitability of such accommodation, especially if it is possible that the accommodation will be secured for more than the short term. Where the accommodation is secured from a PRPSH or private landlord, the tenancy will normally be an assured shorthold tenancy, unless the applicant is notified by the landlord that it will be an assured tenancy.
Advice and assistance
The authority may discharge its duty by offering advice and assistance that enables the applicant to secure accommodation her/himself. This could be, for example, by giving mortgage advice, or by giving advice on shared equity schemes. However, the advice and assistance must result in suitable accommodation actually being secured; the duty is not discharged if it does not result in accommodation becoming available.
Homeless at home
If an applicant has been found to be homeless because it is not reasonable for her/him to continue to occupy accommodation, then remaining in that accommodation, as ‘homeless at home’ can be a discharge of duty for a period whilst the local authority takes steps to secure other accommodation. How long that period can be will depend upon the applicant's particular circumstances, but the point will come where it will become unreasonable for the applicant to remain there any longer