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
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
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"