The Homelessness Reduction Act – New legislation

From April 2018, The Homelessness Reduction Act changes the homelessness duties for Brent Council, the changes mean that all eligible applicants receive some level of advice and assistance – rather than just those with a ‘priority need’.

The Act transforms the way we tackle homelessness and the way our services are delivered by introducing two new duties in addition to the main housing duty:

  • Duty to prevent homelessness: Brent Council will have to help people at risk of losing suitable accommodation as soon as they are threatened with homelessness within 56 days. This means that we will try to prevent the homelessness of everyone who is eligible and threatened with homelessness. This will include single people, childless couples and families. We will try to prevent you from becoming homeless by helping you to remain in your current accommodation, if that is possible. Under the Homelessness Reduction Act, you must co-operate with the steps and efforts the Council is taking to prevent you from becoming homeless.
  • Duty to take steps to relieve homelessness: This duty is for those who are already homeless. We will provide advice and assistance to all those who are homeless to help them find suitable accommodation for themselves and their families. If the relief duty applies to you, the Council can only provide you with emergency accommodation if you are considered to be in ‘priority need’ for example, a family with children under the age of 18. Under the Homelessness Reduction Act, you must co-operate with the steps and efforts the Council is taking to relieve your homelessness.
  • The Main Housing Duty: After 56 days, the relief duty comes to an end if you have not been able to secure alternative accommodation. The Council will assess whether or not a main housing duty will be owed to you after the relief duty ends. The main housing duty is owed to those who remain homeless after the relief duty, are in priority need and have not made themselves intentionally homeless. The Council will be under a duty to source suitable alternative accommodation for those who are owed the main housing duty. Any offer of accommodation is likely to be in the private rented sector, could be outside of Brent and possibly outside of London

For more information on the homelessness criteria please visit www.shelter.org.uk or contact Shelter on 0808 800 4444. In addition, you can discuss this with us when making a homelessness application.

Personal Housing Plan

The Homelessness Reduction Act also gives us a duty to agree the reasonable steps that we will take to assist you in preventing your homelessness, as well as the reasonable steps that you will take to try to prevent yourself from becoming homeless. These steps will be issued as a Personal Housing Plan (PHP) – an agreement between yourself and your caseworker detailing the circumstances of your situation and also providing actions that we will both take, working together to resolve your housing issue.

Duty to refer

The Homelessness Reduction Act also requires public authorities and agencies to notify us if they are working with someone who is facing homelessness or is already homeless.

The Council may be able to provide advice if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness and you are unable to make provisions for yourself. The Brent customer portal provides you with a safe and flexible way to access council services and your personalised information. Click here to create an account. 

Further information regarding the Homelessness Reduction Act