Homelessness has been on the increase in our communities both locally here in Leicestershire and nationally for a number of years. In 2016, 59,260 households were accepted as statutorily homeless, this represents an increase of 40% since beginning of the decade. Furthermore, 77,240 households were placed by authorities in temporary accommodation in March 2017, an increase of 60% since March 2011 (the households included 120,540 children). For a more detailed analysis of the increase in homelessness nationally, please see The National Audit Offices’ Report here.
In response to this worsening trend the Government introduced the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. The act passed through parliament and came into force on the 4thof April 2018, it represents the biggest change to homelessness legislation in England since the introduction of the Housing Act in 1996.
In some areas Councils will have been forced to rethink their approach to homelessness prevention and all councils will need to be more proactive with partners across the public sector. It is the Housing Services Partnerships aim to help with the transition to a new way of working and continue to build on the already established partnerships that sustain the group.
Data that informs our policies
The main driver that informs our policies is now the Homelessness Reduction Act itself (please see link above). However the policy on its own will not be sufficient to meet the challenges that we face. Each individual Council in the group have Homelessness Prevention Strategies which focus very much on both the national issues but also those particularly affecting their areas.
Below is a link to the homelessness prevention policies, most of which have been recently updated. Those that aren’t are in the process of being updated to reflect the new act. When policies are updated they will appear here in their most recent up to date form.
- Leicester City Council Homelessness Strategy 2018-2023
- Hinckley and Bosworth Homelessness Strategy 2015 – 2020
- Charnwood Homelessness Strategy 2018 – 2020
- Harborough Housing and Homelessness Prevention Strategy 2018 – 2031
- Oadby and Wigston Homelessness Strategy 2016
- Blaby Prevention of Homelessness Strategy 2014—2019
- Melton Homelessness Strategy 2018-2023
- North West Leicestershire Preventing Homelessness Strategy 2013 – 2018
How are we responding to the issues raised?
All of the Councils in Leicestershire have been working extensively to meet the challenges posed by homelessness generally but also the new requirements relating to the Homelessness Reduction Act. As well as the work our Housing Options Teams do on a daily basis this work also includes …..
- All Councils have either updated or are in the process of updating their computer systems to more accurately collect data around homelessness
- The new systems will also allow for a more detailed and person-centred approach to working with residents at risk of homelessness whilst facilitating the key aims of the new act
- Leicestershire Councils (in partnership with Rutland) have been awarded Trailblazer Funding in order to create preventative tools for the reduction in homelessness. This funding has been split into two parts.
- Part One: Leicestershire and Rutland Homelessness Coaching Service– a preventative team who work with those who have yet to reach crisis point and aim to prevent homelessness or if that’s not possible ensuring quicker access to more direct support and interventions
- Part Two: Developing a mobile application (app) that will allow those who need help to directly access a tool where they can find information, advice, support and signposting to the right places 24hrs a day / 7 days a week
- Continue to share best practice across the HSP Group (which includes our third sector partners The Bridge Homelessness Prevention Service, Action Homeless and the YMCA )
- Continue to support and feed into the quarterly Homelessness Delivery Group (a meeting of Local Authorities Homelessness Managers)
- Develop a County wide homelessness action plan that outlines common themes and priorities that will help reduce homelessness in Leicester and Leicestershire
- Continue to engage with and support our Housing Enablement Teams (Hospital based housing options and housing support workers) who form part of the Lightbulb project
Where to get Help!
For more information about advice and assistance regarding housing and homelessness issues please follow the links to the appropriate services and support links below.
- StreetLink Please select this link if you are concerned someone is sleeping rough
- Shelter Leicestershire (SHARP) Independent Advice
- Citizens Advice