New government legislation is set to give Harrogate Borough Council expanded powers to assist families and single people who are at risk of becoming homeless.
The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 will increase the ways in which the council can provide advice and assistance to prevent and relieve homelessness at an earlier stage than before.
Among the key points of the new Act are:
- if it is believed a person is threatened with becoming homeless within 56 days, the council will take additional steps to give them assistance. Previously the statutory period was 28 days
- all eligible applicants threatened with homelessness, regardless of priority need can be supported for at least 56 days, in order to help them prevent impending homelessness or secure suitable accommodation;
- the council will agree a tailored personal housing plan with people threatened with homelessness, and work with them to ensure they have suitable accommodation
The new Act will increase the amount of work undertaken at a local level therefore improvements and changes are necessary to ensure the council is prepared to implement the new processes to support people in need of assistance.
Mike Chambers, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Our Housing Options service already has an excellent track record of provision beyond our statutory duties to assist people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, despite the challenges brought about by a shortage of affordable housing and the high cost of private sector rents in the area.
“This is an opportunity to enhance partnership relationships and use innovation to improve services for homeless people and I have every confidence that the council will embrace the proposed changes.”