Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 frequently asked questions

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 came into force on 3 April 2018. The act will provide new duties for the council to assist households who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. However, the changes in the act don’t create any additional accommodation duties or reduce the pressures on the city’s housing stock.

Who will be covered by the act?

You will qualify for assistance if you are homeless or are at risk homelessness within the next 56 days and you meet the eligibility criteria. We advise households at risk of homelessness to seek advice at the earliest opportunity.

What if I’m at risk of homelessness in more than 56 days? 

You can still ask for assistance if you are at risk of homelessness in more than 56 days. The earlier you report your risk of homelessness; the better chance we have sustaining your current accommodation or finding you alternative accommodation. Find out more about the Early Intervention Service.

How will the council make sure that the key steps set out in the personalised housing plan are things an applicant can achieve? 

As part of your assessment, the council will have to look at your particular circumstances and needs to create a Personal Housing Plan. These plans will outline reasonable steps for you and us to take to resolve your housing issues. The council must work with you to agree the actions to be taken by both parties.

What is the requirement for interim / temporary accommodation for those in priority need? 

Where the council has reason to believe that a person is homeless, eligible and has a priority need, they must provide interim accommodation. The duty to provide interim or temporary accommodation remains unchanged from the 1996 Housing Act. Priority need and intentionality will remain part of the assessment process for the council when dealing with full homelessness applications if the new Prevention and Relief duties fail to resolve an applicant’s homelessness.

How can I access advice and if necessary homeless prevention or relief support?

You can contact the Housing Options service:

If you are homeless and have nowhere to sleep, outside of office hours, please phone

  • 01273 294400
  • Care link on: 01273 680065 or 01273 673105

What happens if the provisions of the act are not followed by the council? 

Any negative decisions taken by the council can be reviewed under the new act. This will extend what already exists to enable applicants to request a review of decisions under existing homelessness legislation.

What happens to the data collected about me?

As part of our work preventing and relieving homelessness we will be collecting your data on behalf of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Your data will be used to understanding more about what causes homelessness and how well homelessness services meet peoples’ needs. Please read our privacy notice (PDF 161KB).

Where can I find out more information?

The UK government has published a new Homelessness Code of Guidance for local authorities.