There is no one answer to tackling homelessness. For every person that is without a home, there will be a multitude of reasons behind how they came to be in that difficult situation.
Heather Wheeler MP is the Minister for Housing and Homelessness
1 October 2018
As the Minister for homelessness, I want to make sure this Government is exploring every solution possible to provide support for those in the most vulnerable of circumstances.
Public bodies play an important role in ensuring this support is provided and the new ‘duty to refer’ – a key part of our Homelessness Reduction Act - will strengthen their role.
The new duty will mean that bodies such as hospitals, jobcentres and prisons must now refer those who they believe to be homeless, or at risk of homelessness, to their local housing authority.
This vital piece of legislation – which came into force on October 1 – will result in earlier identification, meaning fewer people will slip through the net. Through their contact with public services, people threatened with homelessness will now be referred for early help and support. I am convinced it will make a real difference.
I am greatly encouraged to see the National Housing Federation is working with housing associations, and is seeking to encourage best practice across the sector.
Their proposed Commitment to Refer aims to mirror the duty to refer model and will be applied to housing associations on a voluntary basis.
I am delighted to see the Federation bringing this initiative forward. It demonstrates a real commitment to working with local authorities and playing an active role in tackling homelessness.
Housing associations and local authorities working in collaboration will speed up the referrals process. We are optimistic this will lead to more positive outcomes.
This is the crux of what this piece of legislation is looking to accomplish.
The National Housing Federation is hosting a series of events to bring together housing associations and local authorities to discuss the challenges faced by each sector, share best practice, reflect on the referral process so far, and identify further opportunities for strengthening collaboration: