The Homelessness Reduction Act isn't working

It won't solve rough sleeping without proper funding

When the Homelessness Reduction Act launched, charities welcomed the news but warned it wouldn’t solve the UK's homelessness crisis. Sadly, we’ve been proved right.

The government's Homelessness Reduction Act, which was launched a year ago, puts a legal duty on local councils to prevent people from becoming homeless. It also requires councils to offer help to all homeless applicants, regardless of priority need.

But cash-strapped councils are struggling to meet the costs of these extra measures, according to a report by the Local Government Association. It says that:

  • Limited access to affordable housing and a lack of suitable accommodation for people who are already sleeping rough is a serious concern for 91% of councils
  • Excessive levels of paperwork required by the Act are costing councils too much in administration costs and are hampering their ability to meet the needs of people at risk of homelessness.

What needs to change

​Porchlight and other homelessness charities have long been saying that in order to make the real changes that are required, local councils need proper financial investment.

And even with sufficient funding, the Homelessness Reduction Act will not work on its own. Because until the government starts to tackle the underlying issues around homelessness, including the lack of social housing, high rents and crippling welfare reforms, people will continue to be forced into poverty and onto the streets.