Here are emergency regulations, The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, made today. These, amongst many other things, deal with what commercial premises may open, or must be closed, and – to the point here – restrictions on individual movement. That latter is at paragraph 6:
Restrictions on movement
6.—(1) During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living
without reasonable excuse.
But then at subpara (4)
(4) Paragraph (1) does not apply to any person who is homeless.
Homeless is nowhere defined in the regulations.
Now, we can guess what the thought was here. The street homeless have no place where they are living.
But ‘homeless’ covers a lot more ground than that, even before we get to the statutorily homeless under Part VII Housing Act 1996. Under Part VII, the ‘homeless at home’, the sofa surfing, those in temporary accommodation – whether under s.188 or s.193 – or many in refuges are all statutorily ‘homeless’.
“Yes, officer, that is my home, and I am outside it without a reasonable excuse, but it is a) not reasonable for me to remain living in the accommodation and b) it is not suitable accommodation for me to remain in beyond the short term. May I refer you to Birmingham City Council (Appellants) v Ali (FC) and others (FC) (Respondents) (2009) UKHL 36″.
Not for the first time, we must point out that everyone needs a housing lawyer with them at all times.