In light of the recent news that the Homelessness Reduction Bill passed unopposed in its third stage of approval in the House of Lords, Amanda, our Chief Executive wrote a response.
"This is great news for the sector, with the Bill requiring earlier intervention by councils to prevent homelessness, and for councils to provide advice and help to all affected, not just those protected under existing laws.
There have been a number of changes to the Bill since it was originally introduced, including the removal of the requirement for local authorities to provide 56 days emergency accommodation for homeless people and rough sleepers with no safe place to stay. We are disappointed about this and would have welcomed resources committed to deliver this requirement. However, the act will oblige councils to start assessing someone at risk of being made homeless 56 days before losing their home. Currently, the threat of homelessness is defined as starting 28 days before the person loses their home.
The debate in the Lords was overwhelmingly positive and supportive of the Bill, with Lord Best calling the Bill a "ground-breaking Private Member's Bill" because of the "fundamental change it brings to the way homelessness is tackled in this country" and the cross-party and cross-sector support that the Bill has.
Local Government Minister Marcus Jones also announced that English councils are to receive £61 million in funding to help them meet the costs of the legislation (rising from £48 million announced previously). The intention is that the distribution model for this funding will reflect the differing need across local authorities. He also announced that there will be a review of the implementation of the Bill, including the resourcing of it and how it is working in practice, after two years.
Of course Hart and Rushmoor councils have some innovation funding to implement the requirements of the new law early, and we are involved in that partnership, so we will get an early view in these areas of how the new legislation will operate in practice.
A great way to end last week,