The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 looks towards better homelessness prevention

With rough sleeping in UK having risen 134 percent since 2010, and the national charity Crisis estimating the core homeless population reached 236,00 in 2016 more than ever needs to be done to tackle all forms of homelessness, with improved and increased focus on prevention and a greater understanding of productive relief work, long gone are the days of a “sticking plaster” approach.

With the arrival of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, which comes into force in England and Wales on April 3, do we dare be optimistic about the future of homelessness prevention? well yes, we should be optimistic, after all it’s always good to try something new.


The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 will place new legal duties on English councils so that everyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness will have access to meaningful help, irrespective of their priority need status, as long as they are eligible for assistance. The Act will amend part VII of the Housing Act 1996.


Currently LAs in England are required to make inquiries to establish what duty, if any, is owed to someone seeking homelessness assistance. As part of LAs’ investigations, they must determine if an applicant has a ‘priority need’ for homelessness assistance. Categories of priority need are set out in section 189 of the 1996 Act, and are extended by the Homelessness (Priority Need for Accommodation) (England Order) 2002. Those who are found to be in priority need and unintentionally homeless are owed what is referred to as the ‘full housing duty’ meaning LAs are obliged to secure that suitable accommodation is made available for them. However, non-priority need households, which are most likely to be single people without children, or childless couples, are owed the ‘advice and assistance’ duty only. The 2017 Act would legally oblige LAs to assess and provide more meaningful assistance to all people who are eligible and homeless or threatened with homelessness, irrespective of their priority need status.



With new approaches to homelessness strong in the third sector, statutory services could learn valuable lessons on how to prevent and mitigate crisis for all those who face homelessness, this will tie in nicely with the real need for LAs to form stronger bonds with charities and embrace partnerships for the benefit of those in need, for decades the biggest and best solutions and ideas have been developed by charities and not for profits.


We’re confident that future is bright for the prevention of homelessness as long as LA’s continue to work better with the third sector and local organisations. Here are the five key points of the new act explained by Homeless link.


To find out more click the PDF attachment below;

Homelessness Reduction Act Briefing Nov 2017_0

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