A panel of housing experts, organised by homelessness charity
Crisis, has recommended Ministers introduce new duties on councils
to prevent people becoming homeless.
Crisis established an independent panel to assess the strengths
and weaknesses of the current homelessness legislation in England
and consider whether reforms could be made to the legislation to
place a more effective and inclusive duty on local authorities to
prevent and relieve homelessness.
previously reported, there has been speculation that the
Westminster Government may announce plans for the introduction of
new homelessness legislation in the Queen's Speech on the 18 May.
This follows a decision last year by the Welsh Government which
imposed a duty on councils to prevent homelessness within 56 days,
backed with £4.9m for 2015/16.
The report makes a case for new legislation in
England to strengthen the current duty for local authorities to
provide advice and practical support that can prevent single people
and other "non-priority need" households becoming homeless. It
suggests councils should be legally required to start preventative
work much earlier than the current 28 days before homelessness is
ARCH believes that any extension of homelessness
responsibilities on local authorities will need to carry additional
In a parallel move the Local Government Association (LGA) has
commissioned a project to explore how public service reforms can
better support councils and their partners to reduce homelessness.
It has begun the process of establishing the opportunities for
local government in the current climate, working with others, to do
more to address homelessness. The project will also identify what
needs to be different nationally to enable this. With support from
Gill Leng, as an external advisor, this process will engage
national partners and local government, concluding with a final
report launch in the Summer. Gill is very interested to understand
the perspectives of stock-holding councils and landlord services,
and to identify existing and emerging practice that could form part
of the solution going forward.
To find out more and get in touch please visit the Homelessness Project website.