Local authority steps in personalised housing plans
The personalised housing plan (PHP) should identify steps which the local authority will take to prevent or relieve the applicant's homelessness.
- Local authority discretion on steps to include
- Steps which a local authority might take for any applicant
- Steps for people who have suffered domestic abuse
- Steps for victims of violence
- Steps for victims of modern slavery and trafficking
- Steps for people with an offending history
- Steps for rough sleepers
- Steps for young people
- Applications made on or after 3 April 2018
Local authority discretion on steps to include
Local authorities have considerable discretion over what steps they will include in applicants' personalised housing plans (PHPs).
However, the Homelessness Code of Guidance gives some suggestions, some of which may assist any applicant, and some specific to particular groups.
Steps which a local authority might take for any applicant
Chapter 11 of the Code lists some possible reasonable steps which might be of help to a range of applicants:
attempting mediation or reconciliation in cases of family breakdown
assessing entitlement to discretionary housing payments where rent arrears exist
providing support, 'whether financial or otherwise' to assist an applicant in finding private rented accommodation, for example, by helping with a rent deposit guarantee
Exactly what the authority does to assist the applicant depends on the particular case.
Power to accommodate
A local authority has a power to provide accommodation to prevent or relieve homelessness. Therefore, the authority may include providing accommodation in the applicant's PHP as a reasonable step that it will take.
The Code suggests that a local authority might use its power to provide accommodation for people from groups at a higher risk of homelessness. These include young people with low incomes and those who may have difficulty finding accommodation from private landlords, such as people with an offending history or a mental health issue.
Steps for people who have suffered domestic abuse
The safety of the applicant should be the primary consideration of a local authority, and a step is not appropriate if it leaves the applicant at risk of continued abuse.
The Code suggests the following as steps that a local authority might wish to take itself and include in an applicant's PHP:
helping single applicants to access supported housing or to gain more support from family or friends. This might involve the local authority making a referral to supported housing or contacting friends on behalf of the applicant. The Code suggests that local authorities should ensure that accommodation is available outside their district for this purpose
referring victims at risk from 'highly dangerous perpetrators' to refuges. Local authorities should develop links to refuges within their districts and in neighbouring districts to facilitate referrals
considering evicting the perpetrator. If the applicant is a council tenant, the local authority's steps in the plan could be taking possession action and granting a new tenancy, for example
providing details of specialist organisations and those offering counselling and support
offering temporary accommodation while action is taken to exclude or arrest and detain a perpetrator
Steps for victims of violence
The Homelessness Code of Guidance states that authorities should be particularly sensitive to an applicant's wishes and respect their judgement of the risk of violence.
The Code suggests that an authority might include the following steps in the PHP:
organising a management transfer
arranging security measures
providing assistance to find alternative accommodation, for example supported housing
providing temporary accommodation while steps are taken to exclude, arrest or detain the perpetrator
Steps for victims of modern slavery and trafficking
Steps for people with an offending history
The kind of steps which could be taken by local authorities to assist include:
using discretionary powers to provide accommodation (see above)
asking support providers for extra support where a person is at risk of homelessness
for people coming out of prison, contacting the offender's family to ask for accommodation in the short term.
Steps for rough sleepers
The Code suggests that local authorities might assist rough sleepers and those at risk of rough sleeping by:
'helping to secure or securing an immediate safe place to stay'. This might include a hostel referral.
working with other agencies to make sure that rough sleepers are provided with appropriate accommodation and support, including support with issues such as drug and alcohol use
using discretionary powers to provide accommodation (see above), taking into account the risk of harm faced by applicants.
Steps for young people
Applications made on or after 3 April 2018
The information here only applies to homelessness applications made on or after 3 April 2018.
Last updated: 8 February 2023