William Eichler 20 June 2019

Whitehall blasted for trying to solve homelessness ‘on a shoestring’

The first assessment of the state of homelessness prevention that has been made from the perspective of local government has criticised Whitehall for trying to solve the homelessness crisis ‘on a shoestring’.

The Local Government Homelessness Commission (LGHC), a year-long initiative set up to investigate how councils can fulfil their obligation to prevent homelessness, welcomed Whitehall’s introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act in 2017.

However, the commission’s report, which has been published by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), warned that without ‘significant strategic funding’, the systems in place under the Homelessness Reduction Act may result in an improved assessment process, but will not achieve its ultimate objectives.

The report said that current funding for the prevention of homelessness is spent ‘unproductively and inefficiently’.

It also warned that a ‘dysfunctional’ housing market, an ‘inadequate and badly administered’ welfare regime exemplified by Universal Credit and the Local Housing Allowance, and rising levels of poverty are all factors that exacerbate homelessness.

‘Local authorities are tackling an ever growing homelessness crisis in our communities on a shoestring, with less and less money to do so,’ said Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of LGiU.

‘The Government can no longer expect local government to pick up the pieces.’

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