Briefing: Homelessness Reduction Bill - Report Stage

Published: January 2017

Briefing: Homelessness Reduction Bill - Report Stage

We support the aims of the Homelessness Reduction Bill, particularly the emphasis on prevention of homelessness; the new duty to assist those threatened with homelessness within 56 days will be very positive for all those facing homelessness.

New duties to assess, prevent and relieve homelessness for all eligible applicants could be a big step forward in reducing homelessness, especially among non-priority households who are currently not entitled to rehousing. However, this legislation alone - even with the new funding announced by the Government - will not significantly reduce homelessness, as changes in legislation cannot and will not be effective in isolation.

To be truly effective, these new duties need to be underpinned by a renewed, cross-departmental Government strategy and policies to ensure suitable accommodation is available in areas where it is needed to prevent homelessness and councils have the resources required to respond adequately and compassionately.

Otherwise, there could be unintended consequences, such as ‘gate-keeping’ of services, unlawful decisions and repeat homelessness, with damaging consequences for children and other vulnerable applicants and a lack of meaningful outcomes for single adults.