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Ever since Dickens wrote his great novels we know that homelessness and the law are closely related. The relationship has not always been a good one for the individuals concerned. Now we have a welfare state and much has improved. The prevention of homelessness and the protection of the homeless has become a constitutional imperative. Yet this does not mean to say that the law always works in favour of the inclusion and emancipation of the homeless. Rigid exclusions remain, in particular for immigrants and repressive responses are on the rise. In the meantime courts soften the worse consequences of these policies by offering human rights remedies.
This book brings together a selection of legal issues relating to the plight of the homeless. They are placed under the headings of: constitution, repression, immigration and human rights. The chapters give a unique insight into the latest policy developments in developed countries. The chapters cover legal issues in Australia, Canada, Switzerland and seven member states of the European Union.
The overall conclusion is that homelessness creates a curious paradox in our legal orders. The same system that is responsible for exclusions and repression (in terms of national positive law) calls for the protection of the victims of these practices (in terms of human rights guarantees).