Laura Sharman 28 September 2020

Councils call for investment to tackle key drivers of homelessness

Councils have stopped nearly a quarter of a million households from becoming homeless since the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) in 2018, a review has found.

The review of the HRA, which placed a legal duty on councils to support those at risk of homeleness, found 243,680 households have been helped to keep their home or into longer term accommodation.

Minister for rough sleeping and housing,Kelly Tolhurst, said: ‘The Homelessness Reduction Act is working well,with councils supporting the most vulnerable, meaning many more people who may not previously have been eligible for support now have the help they need.

’This government is committed to ending rough sleeping for good by the end of this Parliament, and we’ve backed this up with over half a billion pounds of funding this year alone.’

However, the Local Government Association (LGA) warned that councils were overspending £140m on homelessness services a year even before the pandemic.

Cllr David Renard, the LGA’s housing spokesperson, said: ‘The long-term impact of coronavirus on council homelessness services, which were already under significant pressures before the pandemic, is currently unclear.

'It is vital that the Spending Review shifts the Government’s focus towards the key drivers of homelessness, including a lack of affordable housing, welfare-related poverty, and a lack of an integrated prevention approach.’

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