This new legislation aims to reduce homelessness by forcing local authorities to:
- intervene at an earlier stage with households at risk of homelessness,
- publish detailed advice on the housing options available for those at risk of homelessness, and
- make it easier for applicants to appeal a decision made against them.
This new legislation couldn’t have come at a better time with recently published government figures showing that councils use of temporary accommodation has sky-rocketed in recent years, up 58% since 2010 with a staggering 75,740 families being placed in temporary accommodation between October and December 2016.
DASH strongly believes that where we live defines who we are and we want everyone to have the opportunity to live in a safe, warm, secure, good quality home – something which temporary accommodation will struggle to offer due to its transient nature.
Homelessness charity Crisis have described this unanimous approval as an “important moment for tackling homelessness” and have thanked the peers, MP’s and government ministers for their involvement in bringing the bill to fruition.
However, critics have stated that the £61 million of funding that the government will make available to support councils in their increased duties will not cover all of the costs subsequent to the new law. The Association of Housing Advice Services has estimated that London’s 32 boroughs will face a combined bill of £161 million - £100 million more than the government intends to make available for England as a whole.
This is a somewhat controversial piece of legislation as it will inevitably result in more households falling under the definition of ‘statutory homeless’ and place greater burdens on councils to house them without any provision to increase the delivery of genuinely affordable homes alongside minimal additional financial support from the government.