Charnwood Borough Council has finalised a new homelessness strategy in preparation for the most significant changes to homelessness legislation in 20 years.
The Homelessness Reduction Act came into effect on Tuesday, April 3 and places new duties on all local authorities to prevent and relieve homelessness.
The strategy will ensure that everyone living within Charnwood has access to advice and assistance to help prevent them from losing their home or find alternative accommodation.
The aim of the act is to make improvements to the legal framework to prevent and tackle single homelessness more effectively, without undermining the rights people have under the existing system.
Cllr Paul Mercer, the Council’s lead member for housing, says the strategy sets out a clear path for the Council but he is under no illusions about the challenges ahead.
He said: “The new act places more responsibility on local authorities to prevent and relieve homelessness and we have been preparing for these changes for the past 12 months.
“We have increased the size of our housing options team and have created a new social lettings service.
“Homelessness is a challenging issue and one that is not always easily resolved. In Charnwood we work hard to help people avoid becoming homeless and will continue to do this under the new legislation.”
The main changes being introduced under the Homelessness Reduction Act are that councils will need to:
- assess the housing circumstances, housing needs and support needs of all eligible applicants who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless within the next 56 days (previously 28 days) and agree the steps that need to be taken to resolve their housing situation
- assist all eligible applicants who are at risk of becoming homeless within the next 56 days to remain in their accommodation or secure alternative accommodation
- assist all eligible applicants who become homeless to secure accommodation
The new Council’s strategy focuses on:
developing and strengthening partnerships and joint working with other agencies to prevent homelessness
- ensuring early advice and assistance is available to prevent people from losing their home
- ensuring people are assisted to access suitable affordable housing in Charnwood
- ensuring support is available for people who need help to manage their tenancies and prevent repeat homelessness
- increasing the amount of affordable housing within Charnwood for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
If you are at risk of becoming homeless and need advice, please visit www.charnwood.gov.uk/homelessness or contact the Council’s housing needs team on 01509 634567.
The strategy can be viewed in full on the Council website -
Pictured is Cllr Paul Mercer, lead member for housing, and Alison Simmons, the Council’s head of strategic and private sector housing with the new homelessness strategy.