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Housing

Councils have £10m shortfall to deal with Homelessness Reduction Act duties

Youth homelessness charity Centrepoint is calling for a funding reform after its research found that 103,000 young people presented to local authorities as homeless in the last year

Men in a hostel for the homeless

Charity Centrepoint has called for a Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) funding reform after its research estimated that 103,000 young people presented to councils as homeless in 2017/18.

That figure includes 84,000 youths in England, where they are entitled to an assessment as of April this year when the new act came into force.

As a result, councils are required to provide an assessment – with a written decision and a personalised housing plan – alongside 56 days of prevention work and 56 days of relief work.

However, Centrepoint found that, in the year leading up to the new laws, only 35 per cent of young people received an assessment while the same proportion were given prevention or relief support. Councils will face a huge increase in their workload to meet their new duties – especially when adding in the number of people aged 25 and over who will also need support. And the charity insists that the £20 million ‘new burdens funding’ that the government has allocated per year for the next three years will not be enough to bridge the gap.

Centrepoint estimates that local authorities will need an extra 192 per cent of funding to meet the additional demand for youngsters with a shortfall of up to £10 million in the first year.

Their Making Homeless Young People Count report also recommends that the government should publish HRA stats focusing on youth homelessness and those in need as well as receiving support.

It also suggests that local authorities should publish Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategies and calls for a cross-departmental reciew of rural homelessness.

Hannah Webster, Centrepoint’s research and Databank officer, said: “The Homelessness Reduction Act has the potential to overhaul homelessness support in England. But this will not happen if councils are not provided with adequate resources.

“Centrepoint is calling for the Government to review the funding of the Homelessness Reduction Act and to support the legislation beyond this first three-year period.

“By investing more in their legislation, the government will be able to make real change.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “We are investing more than £1.2bn to tackle all forms of homelessness, including amongst young people. Our new Homelessness Reduction Act is already making a difference and requires councils to intervene sooner and help those at risk of being left with nowhere to go.”

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