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Preparation for the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017: commencement expected April 2018

The Minister for Local Government, Marcus Jones MP, has announced that the Government intends to bring the Act into force in April 2018. His letter to local authorities says: “I very much hope that your authority is already preparing for implementation of the Act, and will use the coming months to ensure that you are ready to meet the new duties at the commencement date.”

Draft changes to the Homelessness Code of Guidance are expected to be published in the autumn, for consultation; and new regulations are anticipated to be laid before Parliament in the winter.

The Act represents one of the most significant and radical changes in homelessness legislation, introducing complex new duties and amendments into the existing framework. The Minister’s announcement sets the scene, saying that the Act “will mean people across the country get the help they need to avoid becoming homeless in the first place, and those already experiencing homelessness are able to access help regardless of whether they have a priority need”.

Andrew Arden QC has commented on the new Act, saying it “…is arguably the most positive change in England since the 1977 Act itself. It enhances duties towards those not in priority need and enhances authorities’ duties to focus on the needs of individuals and to at least try to help them to obtain or keep housing, which ought not only to help more people avoid street homelessness but also to increase internal pressure within local authorities to find new ways of providing housing for their communities”.

Arden Chambers has the expertise to assist local authorities and other stakeholders in their detailed preparation and planning for these wide-ranging changes. Dedicated and practical advice is available on the policies and procedures to be introduced and the implications of the new statutory framework, together with free training.

Andrew Arden QC, Justin Bates and Toby Vanhegan extensively covered the new Act in the recently-published 10th edition of Homelessness and Allocations (LAG), and Justin Bates assisted the Labour housing team in the House of Commons during the passage of the Bill.

If you would like to discuss training requirements, please contact us on clerks@ardenchambers.com.