William Eichler 04 April 2019

Cash-strapped councils struggle to fulfil homelessness prevention duties

Over two thirds of councils say they do not have sufficient funding to fulfil their statutory duty to prevent homelessness.

The New Local Government Network Leadership Index survey has revealed that councils are struggling to pay for new duties included in the Homelessness Reduction Act.

Published on the one-year anniversary of the Act, the survey reveals that around 67% of local authorities think they do not have sufficient funding to fulfil their statutory duty to prevent homelessness.

The Homelessness Reduction Act requires councils to prevent and relieve homelessness. The Government made £72.7m available to help cash-strapped councils with these new duties.

However, according to the survey findings, only 19% of council chiefs feel that they have adequate funding to meet the requirements of the Act, and 86% of predominantly urban councils say they are unlikely to meet their statutory duty.

‘The Government’s aspiration to shift towards prevention is admirable but this survey shows that without sustained, long-term funding of local government it will make that goal much harder and probably impossible to achieve,’ said Adam Lent, the director of the NLGN.

‘There is an urgent need for Government to review current funding for homelessness, particularly in the long-term, and ensure its policy aims marry with the resources available to local authorities across the UK.’

The survey was sent to 816 council leaders, chief executives and mayors across the UK and received 188 complete responses.

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