Report: Caught in the Act

By: Hannah Rich and Deborah Garvie
Published: April 2020

Caught in the Act

The Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) was introduced across England in April 2018 as a response to persistent and growing homelessness. The Act set out to reform the help provided by councils so that it offers help to more people, is responsive to households’ needs, prevents people from losing their home and ultimately, reduces homelessness.

This report shares the findings of a six-month multi-method research programme on the operation of the HRA conducted by Shelter. It includes research with Shelter’s frontline services, interviews and focus groups with people who have experience of the Act, and analysis of case notes, audit reports and government data.

In the first section of this report we assess whether the Act has been able to achieve its desired aims. We then look at why the outcomes of the Act remain poor for homeless households and identify the barriers that applicants and local authorities face when trying to prevent or relieve homelessness. Finally, we set out our recommendations for change, both in terms of reducing homelessness and improving the implementation of the legislation.