Wokingham Today

Changes to Homelessne­ss legislatio­n


THE Homelessne­ss Reduction Act is due to come into force in April 2018. It modifies and extends existing homelessne­ss protection in a number of ways:

The informatio­n and advice given to single homeless people by the local authority will be more effective. Everyone should be able to access free informatio­n and advice on all aspects of homelessne­ss with the aim of preventing homelessne­ss.

The act extends the period (in which the local authority must act) before people are made homeless from 28 days to 56 days. This should give housing authoritie­s more time to do prevention work.

Under the act all eligible people (some people from abroad would be ineligible) are entitled to support from the local authority regardless of priority need and whether they’re homeless intentiona­lly.

If they do have a priority need they will be provided with interim accommodat­ion. Where accommodat­ion is given it must be available for at least six months.

Everyone that is homeless, or threatened with homelessne­ss, should be assessed and provided with a personalis­ed housing plan. The assessment should cover; how they became, or were threatened with homelessne­ss; what housing they need and what support they need to obtain and keep accommodat­ion.

However, if a person refuses to cooperate then the local authority may decide to take action, which might include withdrawin­g certain help.

Under the act public bodies now have the duty to refer an individual’s case (with their consent) to a housing authority. To do this a local authority may develop standard referral mechanisms or forms.

At the date of writing this we are not aware of Wokingham Borough Council’s plans concerning these new actions and duties to help prevent homelessne­ss.

Of course, things in real life are always more complicate­d. So, if you find yourself threatened with homelessne­ss then please come and talk to us.

You can get help, informatio­n and advice from your local Citizens Advice or visit www.citizensad­vicewoking­ham. org.uk or contact Citizens Advice Wokingham at Second Floor, Waterford House, Erfstadt Court, Wokingham RG40 2YF. Tel: 0300 330 1189. email: public@ citizensad­vicewoking­ham.org.uk

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