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Reconceptualising Homelessness Legislation in England

Bevan, Chris

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This article has two central aims. First, it problematises the long‐held consensus that homelessness legislation in England operates according to the concept of need and, secondly, it advances an alternative reading and reconceptualisation of homelessness legislation according to the notion of risk. Through examination of the two major sources of current homelessness law, the Housing Act 1996 and the recently enacted Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, this article locates and explores how risk is operationalised, the precise conceptions of risk engaged and the implications and potentiality of this risk reconceptualisation. In so doing, it is argued that risk exhibits a stronger explanatory power of the current homelessness legislation than need and presents opportunities for how we understand local authority decision‐making and the shape of future reform.


Bevan, C. (2021). Reconceptualising Homelessness Legislation in England. Modern Law Review, 84(5), 953-973.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2021
Online Publication Date May 2, 2021
Publication Date Aug 12, 2021
Deposit Date May 3, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 2, 2021
Journal Modern Law Review
Print ISSN 0026-7961
Electronic ISSN 1468-2230
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 84
Issue 5
Pages 953-973


Accepted Journal Article (416 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Bevan, Chris (2021). Reconceptualising Homelessness Legislation in England. The Modern Law Review 84(5): 953-973, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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