The homelessness legislation (part 7 Housing Act 1996) provides a strong safety net for all those who are vulnerable and homeless through no fault of their own. Homelessness is defined at section 175 of the Act. Broadly speaking somebody is statutorily homeless if they do not have accommodation that they have a legal right to occupy, which is accessible and physically available to them (and their household) and which it would be reasonable for them to continue to live in. It would not be reasonable for someone to continue to live in their home, for example, if that was likely to lead to violence against them (or a member of their family).
We have protected homelessness prevention funding for local authorities, totalling £315 million by 2020. In doing so, we expect local authorities to meet their statutory duty to provide advice and assistance to all those that approach them for help. Since 2010, this funding has allowed local authorities to prevent more than a million households from becoming homeless. We are determined to ensure that we prevent more people from becoming homeless in the first place so we are working with local authorities, homelessness charities and across departments to consider options to prevent more people from becoming homeless.
We have also increased central funding to tackle homelessness to £139 million over the next four years, which will include targeted funding for rough sleeping. This includes a new £10 million fund to support and scale-up initiatives to prevent and reduce rough sleeping, and a £10 million Social Impact Bond to support the most entrenched rough sleepers off the streets.