New bill imposes duty on local authorities to help reduce homelessness

// HA News

The Homelessness Reduction Private Members Bill is to be supported by the government, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed this week.

The Homelessness Reduction Bill will significantly reform England’s homelessness legislation, ensuring that more people get the help they need to prevent them from becoming homelessness in the first place.

This builds on the government’s commitment in December 2015 to consider all options, including legislation, to prevent homelessness.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said “No one should have to sleep rough on the streets. We want to build a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few. That’s why we are determined to do all we can to help those who lose their homes and provide them with the support they need to get their lives back on track.

“This government is therefore, very pleased to support Bob Blackman MP’s Private Members Bill, with its ambitious measures to help reduce homelessness.”

The government’s support for the bill comes just a week after it confirmed £40 million to provide innovative approaches to tackle and prevent homelessness. The government has invested £500 million since 2010 which has helped to prevent or relieve over one million cases of homelessness.

The Homelessness Reduction Bill has been introduced to Parliament by Bob Blackman MP. It requires local authorities to provide new homelessness services to all those affected, not just those who are protected under existing legislation.

It places a duty on local authorities to help eligible people at risk of homelessness to secure accommodation, 56 days before they are threatened with homelessness, and to provide those who find themselves homeless with support for a further period of 56 days to help to secure accommodation. The bill will also ensure that other local services refer those either homeless or at risk of being homeless to local authority housing teams.

Welcoming the government’s support for his bill Bob Blackman MP said “I welcome the government’s decision to support my bill to reduce homelessness. Throughout my 24 years in local government prior to becoming an MP, I saw the devastation that can be caused by homelessness first hand, with too many people simply slipping through the net under the current arrangements.

“By backing this bill, the government is demonstrating its commitment to an agenda of social justice and also shows that it is willing to listen. I look forward to working with Ministers going forward in order to bring about this important change in legislation.”

Local Government Minister Marcus Jones MP gave his full support to the bill saying “I am very pleased to support this bill, which gives the government an opportunity to build on the work I have been doing with homelessness charities through the Homelessness Working Group. I am looking forward to working with Bob Blackman throughout the bill’s passage, and with local authorities to make a success of this landmark reform.”

The draft bill underwent scrutiny by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee and the government is grateful for its contribution to this important work.

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