Council Housing

Department for Communities and Local Government written question – answered at on 14 January 2015.

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Photo of Jessica Morden Jessica Morden Labour, Newport East

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what guidance his Department has issued to local authorities on their responsibility to inform other local authorities when rehousing their residents to those authorities; and what steps his Department takes to ensure that such guidance is followed.

Photo of Kris Hopkins Kris Hopkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Holding answer received on 09 January 2015

This Government has invested over £500 million since 2010 to prevent and tackle all forms of homelessness and rough sleeping. The homelessness legislation in England provides one of the strongest safety nets in the world for families with children and vulnerable people who become homeless through no fault of their own. Local authorities are required to secure suitable accommodation for homeless households within their own district so far as is reasonably practicable. If the authority secures accommodation in another district then section 208 of the Housing Act 1996 requires them to notify the local housing authority in whose district the accommodation is situated. We have made it clear that no council should be sending tenants en masse to a different part of the country. The statutory homelessness guidance “Homelessness Code of Guidance for local authorities” is clear on this matter. In 2012 this Government strengthened the law and supplemented statutory guidance to require authorities to take into account the impact a change in location would have including possible disruption to things like employment and schooling on individual households.

Councils have a responsibility to move homeless households into settled accommodation as quickly as possible. That is why we made common sense changes to the law so that councils can place families in decent and affordable private rented homes more quickly. This will mean homeless households will not have to wait as long for settled accommodation, spending less time in temporary accommodation. Households now spend on average seven months less in temporary accommodation than at the start of 2010.

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