The Homelessness Reduction Act
Changes in how we can help people who are at risk of homelessness
On 3 April 2018, the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 came into force. The act puts a legal duty on councils to offer more support to a wider range of people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness - and to intervene earlier.
So how does the new Act help? What does it mean for the people of Cannock Chase who are homeless or at risk of homelessness?
The Act will require a fundamental change to the way the council delivers its homeless support and advice services.
Legal duties mean the council must:
- provide advice and carry out prevention work, so that where possible, people can be supported to remain in their current home;
- offer everyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness access to meaningful help, irrespective of their priority need status, as long as they are eligible for assistance; and,
- carry out prevention and relief work for anyone threatened with homelessness within 56 days (up from the current 28 days)
Helpful guidance explaining these changes can be found in fact sheets produced by the Government http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homelessness-reduction-bill-policy-factsheets and in further detail in the code of guidance http://www.gov.uk/guidance/homelessness-code-of-guidance-for-local-authorities which sets out what Local Authorities, like Cannock Chase, must follow to deliver the required homelessness services.
Please seek help and advice as soon as you think you may at risk of losing your home. This will give us more time to prevent you becoming homeless or to help you to find somewhere else to live before you do
Report rough sleepers and beggars
If you've seen someone sleeping rough, we can help. We work with the homelessness charity Streetlink to meet with rough-sleepers, carry out assessments and provide support.
We look at options to reconnect people to their own area or to support them to find accommodation, usually in the private rented sector. There are some categories of rough sleepers we cannot assist due to immigration restrictions. In these cases, we'll try to reconnect them with their country of origin.
What you can do
If you spot a rough-sleeper in your local area or have concerns about people sleeping rough or using the streets, contact the Streetlink. Rough sleeping is often the most visible sign of homelessness. Some people who appear to be sleeping rough may be engaged in street activities, such as drinking or begging, but in fact have somewhere to stay. You can still alert StreetLink as it is always better to get in touch about someone you think may be rough sleeping, so that local services can provide support if needed. There is no need to feel pressured to approach people you don’t know to ask them about their situation. This is the job of local services.
Call 999 if someone is unwell or distressed - don't put yourself in danger or approach someone acting strangely, even to help.