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Implement the Homelessness Reduction Act

Finally, we will continue to combat homelessness and rough sleeping including through full implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act.

Our Verdict

The Homelessness Reduction Act came into effect in April 2018. Some of its key measures include:

  • a “duty to refer” homeless people or people at risk of becoming homeless to local authorities on behalf of certain public services
  • an extension of the period “threatened with homelessness” from 28 to 56 days
  • a new duty to prevent and relieve homelessness for all, regardless of whether a person has a priority need

The main actions required of central government are to provide local authorities with the means to fulfil these new duties, and then to monitor their implementation.

In total,  government has announced £1.2 billion of funding to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping, to be deployed until 2020, including £215 million for councils to work towards homelessness reduction in 2019. Part of this funding will be geared towards increasing affordable and targeted housing and support, for example through Housing First pilots and the construction of council housing.

The government has also published extensive guidance (following a consultation) for local authorities on how to implement the act.

The government appears to have provided local authorities with the means to implement the Homelessness Reduction Act, but this policy promises full implementation, and some councils have voiced concerns about insecurity over future financing with an ongoing requirement to bid for funding.

With so much for local authorities to take on board and the act having only come into effect relatively recently, it is too soon for this to anything other than ‘in progress’.  We’ll be monitoring developments and consulting with independent organisations to see whether “full implementation” is achieved and we can move this to ‘done’. Follow this policy for updates.

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