The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 is now active – what does this mean?
With the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 coming into force in England this week, we explore the impact this will have on people in housing and local authorities.
Homelessness presents complex problems for local authorities and housing providers – the needs of each individual vary greatly. Early intervention is critical and that is what the Homelessness Reduction Act aims to do: more of a focus on prevention, bringing England more into line with what is already in place in Wales. The Act places new legal duties on English councils, so that everyone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless will have access to significant help, irrespective of their priority status and intentionality, as long as they are eligible.
So what will change as the Act comes into force?
Extension of the period ‘threatened with homelessness’
Anyone threatened with homelessness will be able to access help up to 56 days before it is likely they will become homeless, rather than 28 days, allowing Local Authorities to intervene earlier.
Improved advice and information about homelessness and the prevention of homelessness
The Act puts a duty on Local Authorities to provide or secure the provision of services to give people in their area free information and advice.
Introducing new duties to prevent and relieve homelessness for all eligible people
All eligible people who are found to be homeless or threatened with homelessness will be entitled to more tailored support regardless of priority need and intentionality.
Introducing assessments and personalised housing plans, setting out future actions to secure accommodation
The personalised housing plan will set out the steps the individual and the housing authority must take for the individual to remain in or find suitable accommodation, including both mandatory and recommended steps.
Encouraging public bodies to work together to prevent and relieve homelessness through a duty to refer
Public bodies in England will have a duty to refer an individual’s case (with consent) to a housing authority they identify. This will help develop effective referral arrangements and accommodation pathways that involve all relevant agencies to provide appropriate jointly planned help and support to prevent homelessness.
For more information or advice on housing and homelessness visit Citizens Advice.
Dot Dot Dot is already working with partner organisations that support those in housing need. We will share more information about these partnerships once we have developed more established processes. In the meantime, we are actively welcoming referrals from local authorities, for people who suit being a Dot Dot Dot property guardian. We judge all applicants on their own merits.