Delivering the Homelessness Reduction Act with the new Andy Gale and Locata Preventing Homelessness Toolkits
Andy Gale and Locata have joined together to develop a brand-new set of Preventing Homelessness toolkits to help local authorities prepare for the changes following the enactment of the Homelessness Reduction Act on April 3rd, 2018.
The Act fundamentally changed homelessness legislation by introducing a statutory duty to help prevent applicants from losing their home and requiring action to help secure accommodation for applicants who are homeless. The new duties are ‘blind’ to whether an applicant has a priority need.
Council’s have had to look at their Housing Options Structure, Triage arrangements, their approach to prevention and whether to overhaul working processes. All Housing Options staff and other relevant teams have had to be fully trained on the new law, the prevention duties and how to implement the many other changes that the Act made to the way the Part 7 statutory tests are assessed and applied.
If you have any queries specifically for how to use the toolkits, or need any further help and advice on their implementation, Andy Gale can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org – queries on how Locata can help you and the products it offers should be directed to email@example.com
Finally, please note the information and advice in the toolkits has not been legally checked and is for guidance only. It does not form legal advice.
Andy Gale and Locata can take no responsibility for the accuracy of the content or any changes made by a local authority to the toolkits. A local authority should always consult its own legal services when considering introducing any new resources contained in this toolkit.
There are ten toolkits all aimed at helping local authorities develop their work and approach to prevention. They can be downloaded for free.
Toolkit 1 is a full set of example Personal Housing Plans based on the likely new Act requirements. There is a plan for each presenting “risk of homelessness” problem. Each plan sets out in writing the steps that a local authority intends to take to prevent or relieve homelessness and contains examples of the steps that may be discussed with an applicant in seeking their agreement.
Toolkit 2 is a comprehensive casework kit providing a new framework for undertaking casework and contains a set of useful new resources to help you to better prevent homelessness for applicants issued with a section 21 notice or facing possession action. This is now the largest cause of statutory homeless acceptances. There is a full explanation at the beginning of this toolkit explaining how and when to use the toolkit.
Toolkit 3 is a comprehensive casework kit providing a new framework for undertaking casework and contains a set of useful new resources to help you to better prevent homelessness for applicants who may have been asked to leave or be at risk of becoming homeless from their parental home or the home of extended family and friends. This is the second biggest cause of statutory homeless acceptances. There is a full explanation at the beginning of this toolkit explaining how and when to use it.
Toolkit 4 is a self-help pack for section 21 AST notice cases that can be issued to encourage applicants to consider the steps they can take to help prevent their homelessness
Toolkit 5 is a self-help pack for applicants who may have been asked to leave, or may be at risk of becoming homeless from their parental home or the home of extended family and friends. The aim is to encourage applicants and their families to consider the help that may be available to prevent homelessness.
Toolkit 6 is a short guide to the implications of the Homelessness Reduction Act for local authority caseworkers and other bodies. It sets out to answer many of the common questions front line officers are raising as they contemplate getting to grips with many new duties and how to apply a substantially altered legal framework with new duties and changes to the current statutory tests.
Toolkit 7 is the new affordability assessment toolkit based on the Samuels and Paley Court judgments. It has been created using Microsoft Excel software and contains a clear explanation on how to use it when you open it. It can be used for: A) Assessing whether an applicant is homeless where the claim is the applicant cannot afford their rent; B) Assessing whether any offer of Temporary Accommodation or an offer of private rented accommodation made to end a prevention, relief or main duty is suitable based on being affordable; C) Assessing whether an applicant is intentionally homeless or not, where the question to be assessed is could afford to pay their rent and other reasonable expenditure
Toolkit 8 has been completely updated. The revised 2022 template letters cover the full range of Part 7 decisions that a local authority need to make following the enactment of the Homelessness Reduction Act on the 3rd April 2018. This free resource does not have a copyright attached so homelessness officers can use them without seeking permission and amend as appropriate. The 2022 letters set reflects recent caselaw and the updates to the statutory Code of Guidance since 2018, for example changes to the law and Code brought about by the Domestic Abuse Act and changes to the law on Eligibility due to the UK’s exit from the European Union. Another new feature is that for each letter actions required by the caseworker are highlighted in blue, making the letters easier to understand and faster to complete. The full toolkit now numbers 155 letters in 16 sections across 540 pages
Toolkit 9 sets out options for amending an allocations scheme to reflect the new section 195 Prevention of Homelessness, and section 189B Relief of Homelessness duties, both of which will be owed a statutory reasonable preference under section 166A(3) of Part 6 Housing Act 1996. The toolkit includes 7 example models for how a local authority may wish to consider reflecting these new and existing homelessness duties in their amended scheme.
Toolkit 10 helps officers produce good quality PHP plans quickly by providing a set of PHP template actions for each prevention duty threat of homelessness problem and for the relief duty. Each presenting cause of a prevention duty has a menu of possible actions an officer could include in the applicant’s plan. The Toolkit also provides a menu of actions for the relief duty split by single people and families.