Re: The Homelessness Reduction Act 2018
As many of you will be aware, a new Homelessness Reduction Act has been passed which comes into effect from 3rd April 2018 amending the current legislation.
Whilst many of the existing statutory duties to assist priority needs households remain unchanged, there are some changes that I wanted to make you aware of. The new Act places more emphasis on early intervention to prevent homelessness and on what the Local Authority, along with partner agencies, can do to support a person(s) in helping achieve this. One of the major differences is that the new Act ensures that anyone can who is at risk of homelessness can approach the local authority for advice and assistance, irrespective of priority need.
In Southampton demand for housing exceeds supply and the additional duties brought about by the Act do not create any extra housing or introduce any new housing solutions. Fortunately, Southampton City Council’s Homelessness Unit already works actively along with partners to prevent a person’s homelessness, as well as working hard to relieve homelessness by helping clients source alternative housing solutions. So as a city we are better placed than many to meet the new challenges.
We have started to plan for the introduction of the Act looking at our day to day working processes to fulfil our new obligations and to ensure we can continue to focus on those most in need of homelessness support. There are significant changes needed that we have started working on, including the way staff capture information for government returns and the way we record the day to day work with clients in the form of plans.
There is a requirement that following an assessment the Local Housing Authority must work with the person who has applied for help, to agree the actions to be taken by both parties to ensure the person has and is able to retain suitable accommodation. Over the next few weeks, staff are starting to pilot tailored housing assessments and use of plans for prevention or relief that will outline what we will do to support an applicant prevent homelessness and also details what actions an applicant should take themselves.
As one of our partner agencies it is possible that you will be working with some of the same clients and you may therefore be shown these plans or asked to help to complete actions. It is important that wherever possible applicants are encouraged to work with agreed actions on their personalised plan and we are seeking your support in doing this. As we start to use these plans we may find they need amending and we would welcome any feedback on their use from your perspective.
This is the start of our implementation plans and over the coming months we will be carrying out further work including communication about the act and its’ implications locally. As a partner agency, we will continue to work alongside you and rely on you for support and assistance, and we want to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing work in helping us prevent clients becoming homeless.
We are currently updating our SCC webpages to reflect the new legislation which should be available to view soon. However if you have any comments on the prevention and relief plans seen in your services, questions in relation to the new legislation or would like to discuss further please email our generic inbox firstname.lastname@example.org.
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