Homelessness—services and assessment duties
Produced in partnership with Kevin Long of Hackney Community Law Centre
Homelessness—services and assessment duties

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Kevin Long of Hackney Community Law Centre provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Homelessness—services and assessment duties
  • Homelessness—legislation and guidance
  • Planning homelessness services
  • Homelessness review
  • Homelessness strategies
  • Other organisations
  • Homelessness prevention
  • Homelessness advice and information
  • Duty to refer cases
  • Homelessness applications
  • more

Homelessness—legislation and guidance

The primary legislation covering the duties imposed on a local housing authority (LHA) to assess and assist homeless persons (and those threatened with homelessness) is found in Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 (HA 1996) in England and Part 2 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 (H(W)A 2014) in Wales.

Amendments under Homelessness Act 2002 encouraged LHAs to undertake a more strategic approach to homelessness. In England, HA 1996, Part VII was then significantly amended under the Localism Act 2011 (LA 2011), which most notably reformed the manner in which LHAs can discharge the main homelessness duty. These changes did not take effect in Wales.

H(W)A 2014, Part 2 came into force on 27 April 2015 and applies to applications made on or after that date to Welsh LHAs. Two distinctive statutory regimes have therefore emerged.

Following the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 (HRA 2017), the English framework has been further reformed with significant amendments to HA 1996, Part VII (since April 2018). Changes under HRA 2017 are broadly based on the Welsh model under H(W)A 2014 so the effect is to bring the two systems back into line.

LHAs shall have regard to such guidance as is issued by the Secretary of State in the exercise of their homelessness functions. The previous Homelessness Code of Guidance in England was