Centrepoint urges government to provide meaningful support for all homeless people, as Homelessness Reduction Bill becomes law
Centrepoint has welcomed the Homelessness Reduction Bill, which today becomes an Act of Parliament.
But Centrepoint has warned that those not classed as in ‘priority need’ – such as parents, those fleeing domestic abuse or care leavers – are still at risk of falling through the gaps.
The Act is intended to help shift the focus to early intervention and prevention by councils, before individuals or families reach the ‘crisis point’ of having nowhere to go.
Councils will now be obliged to give free advice and support to someone at risk of homelessness earlier – within 56 days of the issue becoming urgent, rather than the previous 28 days. However, councils are only legally required to house those with priority needs.
Centrepoint’s Head of Public Affairs Paul Noblet said: ‘The new Act is a step in the right direction but with 150,000 young people approaching their local council for support every year, there is still a long way to go to ensure those who have no home find somewhere safe to stay.
‘Many vulnerable young people will still not meet the government’s criteria for emergency housing, leaving them facing a terrible choice between the streets or resorting to desperate measures like staying with strangers.
‘General election manifestos present a big opportunity for all political parties to make genuine, strong commitments to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. That means pledging more investment on issues that cause young people to become homeless such as poor mental health and lack of access to education and training, continuing to fund hostels and ensuring a supply of truly affordable homes.’