1961–1979: The Long Road to Change

  • Jamie HardingEmail author


More sympathetic public attitudes to homeless families in the 1960s appeared to arise from several factors: difficulties caused by the 1957 Rent Act, press coverage highlighting hardship, the formation of campaigning groups for homeless people and the showing of the drama-documentary Cathy Come Home on the television. However, continuing concerns that homeless people might take council housing away from more deserving households on waiting lists meant that decisive action only arose in response to the 1972 Local Government Act, which changed local authorities’ duties to homeless households to discretionary powers. This legislation set in motion a very long political process leading eventually to the passing of the 1977 Housing (Homeless Persons) Act. The Act provided substantially better protection for homeless households with dependent children, but not for most single homeless people.


Eviction 1957 Rent Act Cathy Come Home Voluntary organisations Local authorities Temporary accommodation 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northumbria UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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