The Housing Act 1988 provides a classification of homelessness under Section 2 of the legislation, for the purpose of assessment by a housing authority, as someone in a situation whereby:
“a) There is no accommodation available, which in the opinion of the authority, he, together with any other person who normally resides with him or who might reasonably expected to reside wit him, can reasonably occur or remain in occupation of, or
b) He is living in a hospital, county home, night shelter or other such institution and is so living because he has no accommodation of the kind referred to in paragraph (a) and he is, in the opinion of the Authority, unable to provide accommodation from his own resources.”
This definition of homelessness in the Housing Act represents the legal basis upon which local authorities respond to housing need. In practice, however, homelessness can consist of a range of situations including sleeping on the streets, sleeping in places not intended for night-time accommodation, a public or private homeless shelter, emergency lodging such as B&B or hotel rooms.