I am delighted that the Government has recently announced that it will support the Homelessness Reduction Bill, a Private Members Bill which has been introduced to Parliament by Bob Blackman MP.

The Bill 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.

This is in addition to new Government funding of £40 million to provide innovative approaches to tackle and prevent homelessness which will focus on the underlying issues that can lead to somebody losing their home. This includes:

  • a new £10 million rough sleeping prevention fund to help individuals who might be struggling to get by from ending up on the street.

  • £20 million for local authorities to trial new initiatives, responding to the specific needs in their communities and focusing on prevention at an earlier stage.

  • and a £10 million Social Impact Bond programme to help long-term rough sleepers and address underlying issues such as poor mental health or substance.

The Government recognises that homelessness is not just a housing issue and is working across government, including with the Department of Health, through the Ministerial Working Group on Homelessness.

The Homelessness Reduction Bill received its Second Reading on 28 October and you can read the proceedings in full here: http://tinyurl.com/hermoro