New legislation to help the homeless in England and Wales has been welcomed as “a major victory” by a Catholic homelessness charity.
The Homelessness Reduction Act was granted Royal Assent yesterday. It requires local authorities to provide advice to all those seeking housing help, rather than only those assessed as a priority, and imposes on councils a new prevention duty towards those at risk of becoming homeless within 56 days.
Linda Maytum-Wilson, acting chief executive of Caritas Anchor House, said: “I am delighted to see that the Bill has been passed. It is the most significant reform to homelessness legislation in England for 40 years and its passage means that those experiencing or at risk of homelessness will finally receive the support they need.
“This is a major victory for all involved in campaigning for this change, which will prevent many more people from losing their homes.”
Conservative MP Bob Blackman introduced the legislation as a Private Member’s Bill in January. In debate prior to the Bill’s approval, Blackman said: “Evidence that we secured through the select committee process suggested that some local authorities provide minimal or, even worse, out-of-date information. The measure means that, for the first time, local authorities will have to provide that service to people in this terrible position.”