Councils will have to do more to prevent homelessness

The new act will place more responsibilities on local councils to prevent people becoming homeless.
The new act will place more responsibilities on local councils to prevent people becoming homeless.

Hartlepool is set to receive almost £90,000 over the next three years to help tackle homelessness.

A new Homelessness Reduction Act comes into effect from next month and means local councils will have a duty to provide more support to people who are living on the streets or at risk of doing so.

Hartlepool Borough Council is set to receive almost £87,000 government funding between now and 2020 to help deal with the expected increased demands due to its new responsibilities.

A report to its Regeneration Services Committee on Monday states: “The Act is made up of 12 primary sections; the most significant change is that homelessness prevention becomes a statutory function and this will significantly increase the administrative burden placed on the Housing Advice Service.

“Whilst local authorities back the aims of the Act, they have regularly pointed out that they will not be able to deliver on these aims without substantial funding from government.”

Under the new act the length of time local authorities should treat someone as threatened with homelessness will be doubled from 28 to 56 days to try to provide help before it is too late.

Councils will also have a duty to prevent and relieve homelessness for all eligible applicants threatened with homelessness regardless of their priority need.

Hartlepool councillors will be told of a number of actions and opportunities they and partner agencies should consider to meet the new challenges.

They include making the most of temporary accommodation including investigating whether ‘crash pad’ facilities within existing supported accommodation schemes can be extended.

It could also look into the feasibility of implementing a Housing First model that offers permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible for people and also access to support services to help them keep it.