‘Address wider factors affecting homelessness rise’

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 came into effect on 1 April last year, placing a renewed focus on homelessness prevention and introducing a range of new duties for councils.

An LGA survey of councils to mark the anniversary – to which 151 responded – found that:

  • Eight in 10 councils have seen an increase in homelessness presentations since the introduction of the Act.
  • Six in 10 councils had increased the number of people being housed in temporary and emergency accommodation.
  • The same number say the length of time people spend in temporary and emergency accommodation has increased.
  • Limited access to affordable housing and a lack of suitable accommodation for people already sleeping rough is a serious concern for 91 per cent of councils.

Councils also complained about the excessive levels of paperwork and administration costs arising from the Act, which are hampering their ability to meet the needs of people at risk of homelessness.

Cllr Martin Tett, LGA Housing Spokesman, said: “Many councils have updated their homelessness prevention strategies since the Act was introduced last year. But a lack of affordable housing has left many struggling to cope with the rising number of people coming to them for help, and having to place more families and households into temporary and emergency accommodation as a result.

“This is bad for families and communities, expensive for councils, and not the aim of the Act.

“The wider factors that are increasing homelessness also need to be addressed if the Act is to be a success. Councils need to keep 100 per cent of Right to Buy sales receipts to replace homes sold, and to adapt welfare reforms to protect families at risk of homelessness and prevent homelessness from happening in the first place.”

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