May 2nd, 2017 by James Goudie KC

On 27 April 2017 the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 received the Royal Assent.

It makes changes to the current homelessness legislation contained in Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 (“the 1996 Act”), and to the Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2012. It places duties on local housing authorities to intervene at earlier stages to prevent homelessness and to take reasonable steps to help those who become homeless to secure accommodation. It requires local housing authorities to provide some new homelessness services to all people in their area and expands the categories of people who they have to help to find accommodation.

The Act introduces requirements for local housing authorities to carry out homelessness prevention work with all those who are eligible for help and threatened with homelessness. The Act changes the point at which a person is classed as being threatened with homelessness. The Act requires local housing authorities to carry out an assessment of the applicant’s needs, and set out the steps to be taken by both the local housing authority and the applicant in a written personalised plan. New duties are placed on local housing authorities to take steps to prevent and relieve homelessness by helping any eligible homeless applicant to retain or secure accommodation. A new duty is introduced which will be owed in cases where an applicant has deliberately and unreasonably refused to co-operate with local housing authorities. The Act specifies that specified public authorities refer those who are either homeless or at risk of being homeless to local housing authority housing teams. Provision is also made for certain care leavers, to make it easier for them to show they have a local connection with both the area of the local authority responsible for them and the area in which they lived while in care if that was different.

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