In April 2017, the government passed a new Homelessness Reduction Act, which came into effect in April 2018. This act has been welcomed by charities such as Homeless Link, Crisis and Shelter as a potential positive step towards tackling homelessness. Whilst these charities are very positive about the act, they call on the government to provide housing authorities enough funding to implement it and to ensure that enough affordable housing is being built. Some of the key changes include:

  • Improved advice and information about homelessness
  • Extension of the period when an individual is described as ‘threatened with homelessness’
  • Increasing local housing authorities’ responsibility for tackling homelessness
  • Introducing assessments and personalised housing plans, outlining what individuals and housing authorities will do to secure accommodation
  • Making all public bodies responsible for referring those at risk of homelessness to housing authorities

The government has also announced a new set of measures as part of a rough sleeping strategy, with the aim of halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it completely by 2027. These measures include a new Rough Sleeping Team, a £30 million fund for 2018 to 2019 for local authorities with large numbers of rough sleepers, and £100,000 of funding to support frontline Rough Sleeping workers. Reducing rough sleeping has become a cross-departmental priority for the government, partly thanks to the advocacy work of homelessness charities.

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