More action over homelessness, Crisis warns

Homelessness charity Crisis has published a review of homelessness legislation, calling for councils to be forced to act sooner to prevent people from resorting to living on the streets.

Current regulations direct that councils in England only have to rehouse people at risk of homelessness when they are judged as ‘priority’ cases.

The charity outlined that homelessness and rough sleeping is on the rise in England, with healthy adults without children who are not vulnerable, less likely to fall into the priority category. Single homeless are often simply given advice on a leaflet and turned away.

The review suggests that English law on homelessness should be changed to adopt parts of the Welsh system, where local authorities regard the duty of reverting homelessness as a priority and must act within 56 days of the prospect of people losing their home.

The proposals are aimed at making it more difficult for councils to refuse help to people accused of behaving unreasonably. The news comes after ministers have confirmed they were considering changing the law to help tackle homelessness.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government maintained that the government had committed £139m to homelessness programmes and another £100m for accommodation in the Budget.

He commented: "This report makes interesting reading and we will continue work with homelessness organisations and across government to explore options, including legislation, to prevent more people from facing a homelessness crisis in the first place."