In April 2018, the Homelessness Reduction Act came into force across England. Under this new legislation, councils should now support almost every young person who seeks help because they’re homeless or at risk.
This update to the statutory support system means all eligible young people who approach their council are owed an assessment – with a written decision and a personalised housing plan. This should involve up to 56 days of prevention work and 56 days of relief work, depending on individual circumstances.
The case for a Homelessness Reduction Act funding review
In the year before the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act, only 35 per cent of young people received an assessment. What's more, only 35 per cent received prevention or relief support. With the Youth Homelessness Databank revealing 84,000 young people in England asked for help with homelessness in 2017/18, this means councils will have a huge increase in work.
To help councils with this, the Government has allocated them over £20 million as ‘new burdens funding’ each year for three years. But this is not enough.
Our analysis shows over half of councils will not have enough money to carry out the extra assessments, prevention work and relief work. These councils will also need 192 per cent more funding to carry out these duties, representing a shortfall of up to £10 million in the first year.
This is an alarming deficit, especially when you consider this represents the additional work for young people alone. If you factor in those 25 and over, this will tip councils even further over the edge.
How the Government can help end homelessness
The Homelessness Reduction Act has the potential to overhaul homelessness support in England. But this will not happen if councils are not provided with adequate resources.
Centrepoint is calling for the Government to review the funding of the Homelessness Reduction Act and to support the legislation beyond this first three year period.
By investing more in their legislation, the Government will be able to make real change.