No home, no justice? The legal needs of homeless people ( 2005 ) Cite this report
People tend to face different legal issues as they move through a ‘homeless career’.1 For example, people becoming homeless as a result of family breakdown usually face family law and domestic violence-related issues. On the other hand, people becoming homeless as a result of financial crisis tend to face debt- and housing-related legal issues. Different again, when people have become entrenched in homelessness they tend to face legal issues related to fines and other criminal activities. This chapter will discuss the legal issues commonly encountered by the homeless, which are as follows:
Secondly, many homeless people have more than one legal issue affecting them at any one time. For instance, more than three-quarters of the homeless participants interviewed for the current study had experienced three or more legal issues. To illustrate further, in 2003 the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW conducted a telephone survey of legal need among more than 2400 people living in ‘disadvantaged’ areas of NSW (South Sydney, Fairfield, Campbelltown, Newcastle, Nambucca and Walgett).2 One hundred and twenty respondents indicated that they were or had been homeless during the last 12 months.3 Preliminary analysis of the survey data suggest that homeless respondents faced more legal events than respondents who were not homeless.4 Thus, at any one time a homeless person may have several legal issues and/ or their homelessness may place them at further risk of legal problems.