Extra homelessness funding ‘not enough’, say councils

20 Oct 17

The government has announced an extra £11.7m in new burdens funding to local authorities to help them meet their obligations under the Homelessness Reduction Act – but councils warned this was not enough.

The act comes into force in April 2018 and the additional funds bring the total amount to £72.7m. This extra cash will be shared between local authorities over two years.

Some £3m will also be provided to local authorities to help them upgrade their data systems so they can assess how the act is changing their homelessness prevention work. 

Earlier this week, the government published guidance for local authorities on how to intervene sooner to help prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless in the first place.

Minister for homelessness Marcus Jones said: “The guidance and government funding will support [local authorities] in making sure people will get the help they need earlier to prevent them becoming homeless in the first place.”

Steve Bullock, London Councils' executive member for housing, said the moves were welcome but he warned that £72.7m to support the implementation of the act across the country would not go far enough.

He said: “£73m over three years nationally will not be enough to deliver the broader homelessness prevention and relief services set out in the Homelessness Reduction Act. In London alone, we estimate the act will cost £77m per year to implement.”

Bullock said councils in London would be taking on more homelessness duties, with decreasing funds and reductions in social housing stock, while contending with increasingly unaffordable private sector rents.

He said: “We are highly motivated to prevent and relieve homelessness but cannot adequately do so without sufficient resources and joined-up policy making.”

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