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Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

Published on Friday, 6th April 2018

Comes into force April 2018

The Homelessness Reduction Act places new duties on local authorities to help prevent the homelessness of all families and single people, regardless of priority need or local connection, who are eligible for assistance and threatened with homelessness.

Key measures in the Act include;

  • an extension of the period during which an authority should treat someone as threatened with homelessness from 28 to 56 days;
  • a shift in focus to early intervention with each applicant being helped to develop their own Personal Housing Plan to prevent them becoming homeless;
  • and from October 2018, a new duty on some other public bodies (such as social services, the armed forces, hospitals and prisons) to identify and refer people who they think may be at risk of becoming homeless to a local housing authority of their choice.

The government understands how important it is that people recognise the risk of homelessness sooner rather than later. Councils will now begin working with people up to 56 days in advance of them believing that they could lose their accommodation. This will give more time for people to work with the Council, agreeing what actions they can take, with advice and support, to help prevent them from becoming homeless, or if this isn’t possible to help them find somewhere else to live.

Councils will work on a one-to-one basis, building up an understanding of each person’s needs for help and support as well as their need for housing. This will help prevent future risk of homelessness and build up links with other agencies that can help with other problems often associated with homelessness, such as domestic abuse, mental health, or adjusting to living away from family or friends. If people refuse to act reasonably and cooperate with plans to prevent them from being homeless, Councils will also be able to review their case and may decide to withdraw from offering help and support.

Many of the people helped by the Council are able to find temporary accommodation with friends or family but there will still be some cases where people need to be placed into temporary accommodation as an emergency. For example, if becoming homeless through fire, flood or the risk of violence. The government hopes most people will work with their local Council to prevent the need for this wherever possible, taking time to make plans for their next move and recognising the need to seek help if concerned about becoming homeless.

The Council’s Housing Options Team is already working with other organisations on developing this new approach to prevent homelessness, together with plans to increase the supply of affordable homes for local people in the District. This includes providing clearer information about local housing options and building stronger links with local organisations and charities.

Maldon District Council would like to provide the following advice; if you are unable to stay in your home due to an emergency such as fire or flooding you should contact your insurance company and make arrangements to stay with friends or family if possible. If you are a tenant in rented accommodation you should contact your landlord immediately. If you are unable to contact your landlord you can call us on 01621 854477.

If you are concerned about someone who appears to be sleeping rough, you can refer through the Street Link website which will forward on information to the Council and others who provide support locally to those who are sleeping rough. - www.streetlink.org.uk

If you are single or a couple over the age of 18, you may wish to access emergency temporary accommodation in the form of a night shelter.

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