Homelessness reduction bill receives Royal Assent.
New duties on local authorities to prevent homelessness likely to commence in 2018.
Today the Homelessness Reduction Bill formally became an Act of Parliament.
The Act places a new duty on local authorities to help prevent the homelessness of all families and single people, regardless of priority need, who are eligible for assistance and threatened with homelessness.
28th April 2017
Key measures of the act:
An extension of the period during which an authority should treat someone as threatened with homelessness from 28 to 56 days, and clarification of the action an authority should take when someone applies for assistance having been served with a section 8 (1) or section 21 (2) notice. These provisions represent a shift in focus to early intervention, and aim to encourage local housing authorities to act quickly and proactively, addressing some concerns that some previously only intervened at crisis point.
A new duty to prevent homelessness for all eligible applicants threatened with homelessness, regardless of priority need. This extends the help available to people not in priority need, with local housing authorities supporting them to either stay in their accommodation or help them find somewhere to live and should mean fewer households reach a crisis situation
A new duty to relieve homelessness for all eligible homeless applicants, regardless of priority need. This help could be, for example, the provision of a rent deposit or debt advice. Those who have a priority need will be provided with interim accommodation whilst the Local Housing Authority carries out the reasonable steps.
A new duty on public services to notify a local authority if they come into contact with someone they think may be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. It is hoped that this measure will ensure that a person’s housing situation is considered when they come into contact with wider public services, and encourage public services to build strong relationships based on local need and circumstances.
Funding and review
English councils will receive a total of £61 million in funding across 2017/18 and 2018/19 to help them meet the costs of the legislation. Additional money may be made available for those in high pressure areas to manage the transition as the new duties take effect.
There will be a review of the implementation of the Act, including the resourcing of it and how it is working in practice, after two years.