The New Homelessness Reduction Act

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The New Homelessness Reduction Act

On 3 April 2018 the new Homelessness Reduction Act comes into force.

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This Act profoundly alters the ways in which local authorities and their clients will work together to try and resolve housing issues. The Act recognises that there is a shortage of social housing and that by client and council working together there is a much better chance of a person, or family avoiding homelessness.

We have listed some frequently asked questions about the new Act to help you understand the changes.

 

Q.  Will I get a council property if I approach the council with a Housing issue?

A.  Not always.  The act requires that we seek to help you stay in your current home, if appropriate, or explore all other housing options.  This can include the use of the private rented sector.

 

Q.  Are there new duties that the council had to undertake?

A.  Yes, there are two new duties.  These are known as the 'prevention duty' and the 'relief duty.'

 

Q.  What do these duties mean to me as a person who needs housing?

A.  The new duties mean that the council must spend up to 56 days helping you to prevent losing your home. If we are not able to prevent you from becoming homeless, the council will spend up to 56 days relieving you of becoming homeless.

 

Q.  What changes will the duties make to my interactions with the council?

A.  One of the keys to making this new way of working successful is that there is extra time to work with you to help resolve your housing issues.

 

Q.  How will I get help from the council on my Housing issues under this act?

A.  Rother has been working on an entirely new way of working to meet the challenges of the Act.  In the first instance you will need to click on https://hpa2.org/refer/ROTHand fill in the form at that web address.  We know no-one likes forms, but gathering this information at the start of the process will allow the council more time to work on solutions and less time gathering information about your situation.  This should benefit you, as a client. We will then contact you to arrange a face to face interview.  We can also do this by phone, if it is more practical.  This interview will be a full assessment of your needs and current circumstances.  If you can provide documents to evidence your situation these will be extremely useful and will save time for both of us.

 

Q.  What happens after I have the assessment?

A.  As soon as your Housing Officer has assessed your situation, they will create a personalised Housing plan for you.  This outlines what steps you and the council will take to prevent your housing problems. The plan will have actions for both you and the council.  One of the changes of the Act needs both parties to work together to resolve the issue.

 

Q.  How will I get this plan?

A.  The plan will be given to you at the end of the interview, or if you have access to the internet you will be able to access your plan online.

 

Q.  Can the plan be updated as things change?

A.  Absolutely.  The plan is dynamic and can be changed at any point in the 56 days by either the council or yourself.

 

Q.  Do I have to work with the council on the plan?

A.  As long as the plan is reasonable, yes.  The Act introduces a duty for you, the applicant, to co-operate with us, the council.  If you fail to cooperate, then the council will have no further duty to assist with either prevention, or relief.

 

Q.  What happens if the prevention does not work?

A.  We will then work with you on the relief duty for  56 days of  your homelessness.  This will include the creation of a new plan, on which we will work with you to stop you from being homeless. In certain circumstances, we may offer emergency or temporary accommodation at this stage.

 

Q.  Do I still have a right to make a homeless application?

A.  That right has not changed, but you will need to have worked with the council on both the prevention and relief before being able to make a homeless application.

 

Q.  Has the legislation about homeless applications altered?

A.  No.  In the main it is identical to the old legislation.  This means that the Housing Officer will still look at the five tests of homelessness.

 

This may not be a full list of questions, but I hope it will give you some idea of how the Act is going to change the way we work together to prevent and relieve homelessness. 

More information on the Act can be found at the Shelter web site:    http://blog.shelter.org.uk/2018/02/homelessness-reduction-time-to-get-your-act-together/

 

Our referral form can be found at:

https://hpa2.org/refer/ROTH

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