Homelessness Reduction Act 2017
What does it mean? And why is it being introduced
Why is the HRA being introduced?
The Act is based on the work of an independent panel of experts established by Crisis (the national charity for single homeless people) and draws heavily on changes made to the Welsh homeless legislation in 2015. This highlighted the following issues:
Purpose the Act was to reduce homelessness by:
The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 came into force in 3rd April 2018. This was the biggest change in relation to Homelessness legislation for 15 years. The Act would amend and extended the previous homelessness protection in a number of key ways and means that:
What does this mean in practice?
Every person asking a local council for help will have a conversation with a housing officer. The council will decide if you are eligible for help (this means if you are a British national or have a permanent right to reside in the UK). If you are eligible the council need to offer help. If you are at risk of losing your home this is called a prevention duty. If you are already homeless this is called a relief duty.
The council must help you regardless of whether you have a priority need (for example if you have disabilities or dependent children) or if they think you have made yourself intentionally homeless. If you are homeless, the council might have to provide you with temporary housing. Both the relief duty and prevention duty last up to 56 days.
In this time, you and the council will work together to prevent or resolve your homelessness. If you are still homeless at the end of this time, the council will decide if you meet the criteria for temporary housing and settled accommodation. A housing officer will talk to you about what has caused you to be homeless or threatened with homelessness. They will also ask about your housing needs and any other help that you or your family need. You and the council should work together to list the reasonable steps you will both take to help you keep your home or find somewhere suitable to live. These steps need to be right for you and your situation, so they should take your needs into account. The results of this conversation will be written down to form your personalised plan. Both you and the council should regularly review the plan. It’s important that you keep in touch with the council to discuss any changes. They should also keep you updated.