Council homelessness commission launched

London-based think tank Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) has launched a year-long initiative to investigate how councils can help prevent homelessness.

The Local Government Homelessness Commission (LGHC) will be co-chaired by the leaders of Sevenoaks and Blackburn councils, respectively, and will support the goals of the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA), which set out the ambition to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminate it by 2027.

The HRA has been in force since April and gives councils expanded duties to implement housing plans for anyone at risk of becoming homeless within 56 days.

Government statistics released earlier this year showed that 4,751 people slept rough in 2017, an increase of 15% from the previous year.

The Commission’s work will focus on temporary accommodation, data, supporting vulnerable groups and finance and a full report on the Commission’s work will be launched in early 2019.

Cllr Peter Fleming, Leader of Sevenoaks District Council and co-chair of the LGiU’s Homelessness Commission, said: ‘There is a clear and unambiguous need for local government to put our collective minds to solutions that can be quickly moved to actions, to urgently turn the runaway train of increasing homelessness in this country around.

The LGIU’s Local Government Homelessness Commission, timed as it is after the Government’s Homelessness Reduction Act, allows us to look at what is being done, what can be done and what more needs to be done to make a long-lasting and real impact on reducing homelessness in this country.’

Cllr Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council and co-chair of the LGiU’s Homelessness Commission, added: ‘With the crisis of homelessness increasing rapidly, we have a responsibility across local government to step up and find ways that it can be tackled.

‘This is a complex picture, which is different in different parts of the country. It is therefore about using the right tools to prevent homelessness in local areas, but we also call on central government for the resources and support to make this work.

The Local Government Homelessness Commission, which LGiU has set up, is timely and, most important, it will be led by the councils and councillors with the responsibility to address this problem.’



Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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