The Homeless Reduction Act 2017 is part of the government’s homelessness legislation and is the biggest change to that legislation in 40 years. It’s a big deal. The new duties introduced as part of the act aim to relieve and ultimately prevent homelessness.
The period “threatened with homelessness” (when someone is likely to become homeless) has been increased from 28 to 56 days
There is a new duty to prevent homelessness for eligible applicants threatened with homelessness, regardless of their priority need status. They will be given access to more tailored support from the housing authority
There is a new duty to relieve homelessness for eligible individuals already without a home, again regardless of their priority need status. They will also be given access to more tailored support from the housing authority
Public services will be bound by the new “duty to refer” to notify the local authority if they encounter a person who they believe may be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
Housing associations don’t have any specific new duties but they can support many aspects of this Act
Under the prevention part of the Act local housing authorities have to take reasonable steps to stop individuals becoming homeless, with reference to their Personal Housing Plan. For example, this could mean support for them to stay in their accommodation or alternatively helping them find somewhere to live. The thought behind this part of the Act is that households can be significantly helped before they reach a crisis situation.
Under the relief part of the Act local housing authorities need to ensure they take reasonable steps to help the person move into accommodation, with reference to their Personal Housing Plan. For example, this might mean the provision of a rent deposit or debt advice. If accommodation is provided then the housing authority must be satisfied that the accommodation will be available for at least six months.
Personal Housing Plans set out the steps an individual and the housing authority must take for the individual to remain in or find suitable accommodation.
You can read more about The Homeless Reduction Act 2017 here