Response: Draft Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities

By: Kantar Public  Published: December 2017


Shelter's response to the DCLG consultation on the Draft Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities ahead of the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

Summary

Our advisers use the current Homelessness Code of Guidance every week in advising homeless service users and negotiating with local housing authorities to ensure they honour their legal duties.  

We're pleased that the proposed new Code of Guidance retains much of the detail of the existing Code.  Without this, there would be greater need for the courts to interpret the legislation and this would be against the spirit of the new Act.

We recommend the tone of the guidance is amended to ensure that it encourages local housing authorities to help all those who are homeless or threatened with homelessness, including through the provision of meaningful information and assistance.  We also recommend amendments to the sections on refusal to cooperate to ensure that people are not denied assistance on this basis other than as a last resort.  We strongly recommend that the current guidance on affordability of accommodation is retained.

We recommend amendments to the following key areas:

  • Definition of homelessness
  • Priority need as a result of vulnerability
  • Assessments and personalised plans
  • Ending the prevention and relief duties
  • Suitability of accommodation

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