Government urged to amend draft Homelessness Code of Guidance

The Communities and Local Government Committee has called on government to make changes before issuing out the guidance to local authorities.

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Clive Betts, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, has called on the Government to reflect on evidence received by members on the draft Homelessness Code of Guidance, due to be issued to councils prior to the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act in April 2018.

The Homelessness Reduction Act was passed last March, after Bob Blackman was successful with his Private Members Bill.

The call for amendments comes after hearing from stakeholders, including homelessness charities Crisis and Shelter and the LGA and London Councils, during the session on the Draft Homeless Code of Guidance for Local Authorities last month.

The letter (attached along with additional information from Crisis) to Local Government Minister Marcus Jones, who also gave evidence, highlights concerns that the Draft Code of Guidance does not reflect the spirit of the legislation.

It also notes the concerns of the LGA and London Councils that funding for the implementation of the Act is unlikely to be sufficient.

Clive Betts, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said: “The draft code was broadly welcomed but we heard from witnesses that, while the guidance is written to the letter of the law, it was not in the spirit of the law.

“They told us the guidance could do more to encourage a culture change within housing authorities to prevent homelessness early on.

“In London, we heard there could be a funding gap of £67m a year for the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act, so we would like the Minister to spell out a full estimate of the costs and savings associated with the new legislation and give an assurance that councils will have the money that they need.”

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