Briefing: "It's a personal thing" What service users need from assessments and personalised housing plans - Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

By: Deborah Garvie  Published: November 2017


The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 is due to come into force in April 2018. If implemented correctly it should transform the services provided to people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness. At the heart of the legislation are new duties to assess all eligible applicants’ cases and agree a personalised plan. Supported by the Longleigh Foundation, we took advice from an Expert Panel of our service users, who guided and supported this work. This briefing contains their recommendations to local housing authorities on how to implement these new duties and the DCLG on the Statutory Code of Guidance for local authorities.

Summary

Guided by our Expert Panel of service users, this briefing makes a number of recommendations to local housing authorities covering:

  • Early advice to prevent homelessness.
  • Improvements to service delivery by involving people with lived-experience in the design of their services; training staff to ensure that people are treated with empathy, dignity and respect and ensuring that people are not kept waiting for lengthy periods.
  • Assessment of housing and support needs of the entire household, including a brief housing history, with the wishes and preferences of the applicant (including possible trade-offs) used as the starting point for help given.
  • Genuinely personalised plans, tailored to meet the specific housing advice and support needs of the applicant and identifying the most appropriate accommodation options given their housing history.

The Government should commit to regulations on whether it's reasonable to expect people to occupy beyond the expiry of a valid Section 21 if housing authorities continue to flout the strengthened guidance post-implementation.