chapter  10
6 Pages


ByDavid Cowan

Homelessness policy has been closely aligned with policy towards crime control. At breakneck speed, homelessness policy collided with Michael Howard’s form of criminology. In this form, the causes of homelessness are equated with a reduction in the ‘penalties for fecklessness’: more punishment and less provision. This chapter argues that the homelessness legislation itself proved inadequate for the task. The old homelessness legislation did not provide the relevant criteria for determining housing need in individual cases because it required the applicant’s past, present and potential conduct to be assessed in the light of the availability of accommodation in the area. The deserving/undeserving debate, which has been raging for centuries, has always proved sterile but nevertheless has enabled politicians and others to draw conclusions about a person’s need from their previous conduct and to use that conduct to make dubious points of ‘morality’. The transition made in 1977 was only symbolic and organizational.