Reply To: Homelessness Reduction Act


There is a new "duty to refer" where a "specified public authority" believes that a person may be homeless or threatened with homelessness. They have a duty to refer that person (with their consent) to the local housing authority. However this is irrelevant in terms of councils because a) it excludes local housing authorities, and b) a homelessness application is triggered by approaching the local authority and asking for help with housing (and giving the local authority reason to believe they may be homeless) – regardless of which part of the council they approach.

It's certainly true that the new duties under the Homelessness Reduction Act are going to increase the burden on local authorities. And I would suggest that any sensible housing department will welcome early referrals from Housing Benefit – the focus is very much on prevention, and preventing homelessness is usually cheaper than rehousing people.

The HRA is being funded initially by "New Burdens" funding from central government. We're getting about £200K for two years. In principle the idea is a good one – preventing homelessness is a potential money-saver.