DCLG announces £48m for councils to prevent homelessness

Local Government Minister Marcus Jones has announced that councils are to receive a further £48 million funding to help them deliver new and expanded services to prevent and reduce homelessness.

The new funding will be available to councils in England to meet the costs of the Homelessness Reduction Private Members’ Bill. If the Bill is passed, the funding will be used support anyone at risk of losing their home to get the help they need more quickly.

Under the Bill, councils will help all eligible people for 56 days before they are threatened with homelessness, while those who are already homeless will receive support for a further 56 days to help them secure accommodation.

It will also require councils to provide services to refer homeless people or those at risk to local authority housing teams who can provide them with free information and advice services.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I’m committed to preventing homelessness and this new £48 million backing for Bob Blackman’s Homelessness Reduction Bill will allow councils to make real changes in the way they help vulnerable people.

Local Government Minister Marcus Jones said: “We’re determined to make sure anyone facing the threat of homelessness gets the support they need.

“That’s why we’re supporting Bob Blackman’s Homelessness Reduction Bill, which will help strengthen the safety net for people who find themselves at risk of losing their homes.

“Councils asked for extra funds to help bring in the changes and we’ve listened, with an extra £48 million so they can hit the ground running.”

However, the Local Government Association (LGA) has voiced concern that the £48 million figure may not be enough.

Lord Porter, LGA chairman, warned: "Councils have concerns that initial costings will inevitably be based on assumptions that are difficult to predict.

"For example, it is impossible to know how many people will come forward to access the new duties, what the impact of the Bill will be on different groups over time, and therefore the funding councils need to deliver duties that reduce homelessness.

"We ask that the government commit to reviewing the Bill’s impact two years after implementation, to assess its actual impact and to ensure that councils are being fully equipped and funded to deliver the Bill’s ambitions."