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ARCH annual report

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The ARCH annual report for 2015-16 is now available to view.

 

Download it here.

Homelessness Reduction Bill 19/01/2017

Local Government Minister Marcus Jones has confirmed Councils are to receive a £48 million funding to help them deliver new and expanded services to prevent and reduce homelessness.

 

This new funding will be available to councils in England to meet the costs of the Homelessness Reduction Bill, which if passed by Parliament, will mean anyone at risk of losing their home will get the help they need more quickly.

 

The funding announcement was made as the Public Bill Committee completed its consideration of the Bill.  The Bill will now be considered by the House of Commons at Report Stage and Third Reading scheduled for Friday 27th January 2017, before being considered by the House of Lords.

 

Under the Bill, councils in England will be required to help all eligible people - whether they are single or a family - for 56 days before they are threatened with homelessness. Those who are already homeless will get support for a further 56 days to help them secure accommodation.

 

Other services will also be required to refer homeless people or those at risk to local authority housing teams who can provide them with free information and advice services.

 

ARCH Policy Adviser Matthew Warburton has written a Briefing Paper for ARCH members, summarising the main provisions of the Bill as it now stands following consideration and amendments made by the Public Bill Committee. We will provide a link to this in due course.

 

Subject to the Bill receiving Royal Assent the additional funding will be available from 2017-18 for only 2 years as follows:

 

Year

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

 

Net cost

 

£35.4m

 

£12.1m

 

£nil

 

The Government have made no announcements on the distribution model for this funding but says it will work with local councils and the Local Government Association to develop the distribution model which will reflect the differing needs in different authorities. The Minister also said that he intends to consider the case for making available a small amount of further funding for councils in high-pressure areas to manage the transition to the new duties in the Bill.

 

In announcing the additional funding the Government assumption is that "offsetting savings" to councils will mean there will be no additional costs thereafter.

 

ARCH CEO John Bibby comments:

 

"The announcement of additional funding to support councils in meeting the significant additional legal responsibilities that will be placed on them by this Bill is to be welcomed. However, as yet we do not know how this funding will be distributed to councils and the assumption that there will be offsetting savings for local authorities as a result of a greater emphasis on homelessness prevention is a huge assumption and personally I have my doubts whether such savings will accrue within 2 years.

 

The Government must keep under review the methodology behind these estimated costs and the core assumptions made in arriving at these figures and also ensure that such additional funding is ring-fenced within local authorities General Fund budgets"

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