Homeless Reduction Act 2017
The act was implemented on 3rd April 2018
The legislation has changed the way that homeless cases are managed with the fundamental change being an emphasis on ‘Preventing Homelessness’
Although the emphasis is on preventing homelessness we have no new tools or services to assist this.
The old legislation meant that we started working with you within 28 days of you becoming homeless or threatened with homelessness– this has now changed to at least 56days the reason behind this is to allow more time to assist you in preventing homelessness by directing you to register with Homefinder, work with your Landlord to prevent your homelessness and direct you to suitable alternative accommodation which will usually be the private rented sector.
If you present as Homeless we now have a duty to:
Assess your circumstances;
Assess what led to you homelessness or the threat to them being made homeless;
Assess any support needs you or your family may have;
Provide an extended advice service for anyone threatened with Homelessness;
Provide an initial assessment and a Personal Housing Plan for every case listing what reasonable tasks you will need to carry out to prevent your homelessness and what reasonable tasks the Local Authority will need to carry out to try to prevent your homelessness.
The new law applies to all and not just those in priority need and is regardless of family make up.
The first duty is to try to keep you in your current accommodation which is the prevention duty.
If you lose your own accommodation an additional relief duty starts, this lasts for at least 56 days or sooner if you secure suitable accommodation which is available to you for at least six months.
The relief duty is where we may provide you with interim accommodation (commonly referred to as temporary accommodation).
The interim accommodation duty remains the same as it was in the old legislation, No priority need - No interim accommodation.
If we are working with you and you lose your accommodation and you have priority need and require interim accommodation we will provide this and continue working with you until you find suitable accommodation that is available to you for at least six months.
Non-cooperation with the Local Authority to compete the reasonable steps in the Personal Housing Plan could mean that you lose any duty to accommodate.
In October 2018 the Duty to Refer for certain statutory agencies such as the Police, Hospitals, Prisons etc. came into being this means that these agencies now have a duty to refer anyone who they believe to be homeless to the local authority.
The new legislation also makes it very apparent that social hosing provided by the local authority is a diminishing reserve and that you, as a homeless individual should look towards the private rented sector for rehousing.