Homelessness Reduction Act: ‘It’s time for more collaboration’

Theresa May legacy, the Homelessness Reduction Act, came into force a year ago with determination of reducing homelessness and rough sleeping which has proved a success although at a slow pace.

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The act which was the biggest change to homelessness legislation in 40 years that intends to prevent and relieve homelessness by placing new legal duties on English local authorities and some public bodies.

Whilst there are no specific duties on housing associations, the sector play significant role in supporting many aspects of the act particularly by way of referring those at risk of facing homelessness to the local housing authority.

There’s a view the homelessness crisis is still getting worse, however, the recent statistic released in May 2019 by Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government shown reduction by more than 8%.

These figures prove that the new regulations are already making a real difference by way of more people accessing help at early stage simply.

This is achieved by way of early intervention of organisations such as social services, hospitals, and housing associations.

No one should live without a home to call their own and this can only be achieved by the collaborative working of all organisations across the sector.

The recent funding cuts, and increase in demand of support services such as mental health services has put pressure on organisations that offer these types of services.

The lack of support resulted “catastrophic impact” on people with mental health issues who are often threatened with homelessness.

Looking to the future, more needs to be done to ensure the new legislation is working for all; particularly supports are in place for people with high level of health and social care needs.

Hence, it is crucial local government and their stakeholders implement a system that effectively supports all individuals facing to become homeless.

At the time of crisis where the government focus on building more houses often the crucial factor which is “needs of people who will live in those houses not assessed properly”.

Consequently, there are houses built by the sector where the type of design is not suitable for people who are at need of housing.

This means either people forced to move into homes that are not suitable for their needs or those properties remain empty for long time.

This is what I consider the crisis which can only be fixed by way of having a system in place that all organisations communicate with each other effectively to ensure the needs of local homeless people are clearly assessed before new homes are built.

The government needs to acknowledge the fact that although more houses may need to be built also the system needs to be in place to monitor the efficiency of use of current housing stock in order to tackle the homelessness crisis for good.

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