We are spending more than £1.2 billion through to 2020, and we have implemented the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, published our £100 million rough sleeping strategy and taken immediate action to begin to reduce the number of people on the streets. The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 came into force on 3 April 2018, signifying the biggest change to homelessness legislation in 40 years. This brought in new duties to prevent and relieve homelessness, such as:
- a new duty to prevent homelessness for all eligible homeless applicants and those threatened with homelessness, regardless of priority need
- an extension of the period ‘threatened with homelessness’ from 28 to 56 days
- a new ‘duty to refer’ on public services to notify a local authority if they come into contact with someone they think may be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
Although there are no specific duties on housing associations, the sector can support many aspects of the Act, including making a voluntary commitment to notify the local authority if they come into contact with someone they think is at risk of becoming homeless.