Homelessness Reduction Act 2017
The prime focus of the act is to reduce homelessness by placing greater emphasis on preventing homelessness and improving prevention help for people who are not entitled to permanent housing under the homelessness legislation.
Local authorities have a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent or relieve homelessness for anyone at risk of homelessness within 56 days. The Act also includes several other measures:
- Making information and advice about homelessness available to all residents free of charge. This includes advice on preventing homelessness and securing accommodation, as well as rights under the act, and how to access help.
- Tailoring advice to meet the particular needs of vulnerable groups, including:
- persons released from prison or youth detention accommodation
- victims of domestic abuse
- young adults leaving care
- former members of the regular armed forces
- persons leaving hospital
- persons suffering from a mental illness or impairment
- any other group identified as being at particular risk of homelessness in the authority's district
- Working collaboratively with people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness to assess their circumstances and agree a personalised housing plan based on their needs and circumstances. The plan will set out the ‘reasonable steps’ the local authority and the customer will take to prevent homelessness or help to secure alternative housing.
- Providing help to prevent and relieve homelessness for all eligible applicants, including single people who do not have ‘priority need’, and those who might be considered ‘intentionally homeless’.
- Securing and helping to secure suitable safe accommodation for people who are homeless, or helping them to stay in their current home wherever possible and appropriate.
If homelessness cannot be prevented, the authority must try and relieve homelessness, again by agreeing a personal housing plan as above.