HCLG committee to spotlight Homelessness Reduction Act

Minister for homelessness Heather Wheeler and Crisis chief executive John Sparkes are among the witnesses.

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The Homelessness Reduction Act will be under the spotlight at an evidence session of the Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee later this month.

A line-up for the session – set for 23rd April at Portcullis House – confirms minister for homelessness Heather Wheeler and Crisis chief executive John Sparkes among the witnesses, alongside representatives from councils and charities.

The session will investigate what impact the Act has had in the time it has been in operation, examining how councils have adapted the services they provide and the additional costs this has placed on them.

It will also look at how outcomes have changed for people at risk of becoming homeless or who are in need of accommodation, with the committee considering whether reforms could be made to improve the legislation, both from the perspective of councils their service users.

The Act was introduced to the Commons by HCLG Committee member Bob Blackman and became law in 2017 for implementation by central and local government last year, with the aim of relieving homelessness through improved intervention at an earlier stage.

Government has pledged to review the effectiveness of the new measures and will publish a final report in March next year.

As reported by 24housing, government targets for rough sleeping will not be met, according to a New Local Government Network (NLGN) report.

The Leadership Index found that 41% of councils think they cannot eradicate rough sleeping by 2027, with a further 26% stating they are unlikely or very unlikely to halve rough sleeping by 2022.

With new duties placed upon them by the Act, it was estimated that councils need at least another £10m per year just to support under-25s.

Witness line-up for HCLG Committee session on Homeless Reduction Act:

Panel One: Charities (at 4.30pm)
• John Sparkes, Chief Executive, Crisis
• TBC, Shelter

Panel Two: Local Authorities (at 5.00pm)
• TBC, Local Government Association
• TBC, London Councils

Panel Three: Government (at 5.30pm)
• Heather Wheeler MP, Minister for Housing and Homelessness
• TBC, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

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