Properly Preventing Homelessness
A comprehensive homelessness strategy will have a greater effect on stopping homelessness than new legislation.
Only the Labour Party can introduce
truly progressive plans to prevent homelessness.
Homelessness is a complex social problem, for which legislation can only ever have a limited positive effect. For a truly lasting solution, an inclusive strategy must be developed. The Labour Party, whose central causes can be defined as the eradication of poverty and inequality, are best placed to establish a robust plan fit for the 21st century.
The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 affords more people at risk of homelessness additional help. Whilst this is positive, this new legislation offers local authorities only limited additional powers to prevent or relieve homelessness. Crucially the statute is silent about the principle causes of homelessness.
The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 promotes a preventive approach to resolving homelessness, however the limited scope of the legislation means that many local authorities will be unable to do much more than prevent homelessness immediately prior to a crisis. Effective preventive work needs to take place at much earlier stage.
A range of public authorities need to work collaboratively with those most at risk to establish pathways away from homelessness. Just as important, is work to prevent the reoccurrence of homelessness. However, a significant decrease in housing support budgets, together with the uncertainty for future of housing support funding, means this type of preventative activity is not properly resourced.
Preventative action needs to be backed-up with a cessation of welfare cuts and more affordable housing, both recognised solutions to homelessness.
Labour Homelessness Network
The Homelessness Network should focus on seeking solutions to prevent all forms of Homelessness (statutory, single, street, and hidden) as many are ignored in national and local strategies.
A range of authoritative evidence should be reviewed, to ensure future strategy is founded on accurate and reliable facts. A commitment to change current policy and practice will be need to central to the work of the homelessness commission, if it is to have any real lasting and relevant impact.