Homelessness Reduction Bill Passed Into Law
The Homelessness Reduction Bill has been passed into law, after receiving Royal Assent on 27 April 2017. The passing of the Act sees one of the biggest changes to homelessness laws since the Homelessness Act 2002.
Key measures of the Act:
- The council must now accept an applicant if they are likely to lose their home within the next 56 days. Previously, this period was 28 days.
- A new duty has been introduced extending help available to those threatened with homelessness regardless of ‘priority need’.
- A new duty for public services to notify a local authority if they have come into contact with someone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The Act has been passed at a crucial time. Recent figures released by the DCLG reveal that over 4,000 individuals are sleeping rough every night in England alone. Our own research estimates that there are more than 2,500 people in Leicester and Leicestershire who are homeless. This year already, over 400 people have approached Action Homeless, only 30% of whom were eligible for support under the current Housing Act. The new Act places an essential responsibility on local authorities to prevent these individuals from becoming homeless.
However, more still needs to be done to end rough sleeping. With a General Election just around the corner, we are supporting fellow homeless charities for the End Rough Sleeping campaign led by Crisis. The campaign calls for ‘every political party to make ‘a clear manifesto commitment to an ambitious new national initiative to end rough sleeping‘.
Joining the campaign is easy. Simply tweet Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron to ask if they will pledge to end street homelessness. Be sure to include the hashtag #EndRoughSleeping. You can also share the campaign on Facebook and Instagram by going onto the Crisis website.