England & Wales Housing and planning, Welfare and equalities

LGiU in 2018 – homelessness

Image by Shahid Abdullah from Pixabay

This week we are having a quick look back at some of the work we have done over the past year. Andrew Walker kicks us off with homelessness.

One of LGIU’s key focuses in 2018 was homelessness. The Homelessness Reduction Act (2017) was introduced in April this year, and has expanded the responsibility of English local authorities towards those deemed eligible and unintentionally homeless.

Rough sleeping is one of the most visible and distressing signs of failing public policy. Yet it is only the tip of the iceberg. The number of people who are actually homeless, living in temporary accommodation, bed and breakfasts, sofa surfing, or living precariously at no fixed abode in other ways, is far higher. Tackling homelessness and addressing its causes, therefore, is a long-term project that needs to draw on partners and organisations from across the public sector. LGiU is half way through a commission, led by leaders from two of our member councils, that is investigating precisely how councils can fulfil this obligation.

The commission will provide practical solutions for councils as well as a robust set of challenges and demands for central government to provide the right resources, powers and tools for councils to tackle this task. So far we have conducted detailed investigations into how better data can bolster homelessness strategies, as well as the complex needs and challenges that young people and other vulnerable groups at risk of homelessness face. We will hold two more sessions in the new year, which will look at the challenges around supply of temporary accommodation and the economic and financial challenges that councils face in this area. A full report, with recommendations for central and local government, as well as detailed best-practice case studies, will be published following these sessions. We will use this research to influence government policy and to support our member councils in this crucial area of public policy innovation.