Homelessness Reduction Bill – a move in the right direction?

I wrote recently about the Homelessness Reduction Bill urging our local Members of Parliament to support the Bill brought forward by the Conservative Bob Blackman.

The Bill, which will be debated by MP’s on Friday 28th October, aims to improve the support that homeless people receive from local councils.

The relatively new Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, has said that the government would fund any new duty …. and the Treasury has yet, as far as I am aware, to countermand his commitment. Here is what I have written about the Housing Minister.

I did say I have some concerns regarding some measures in the Bill, specifically ‘intentionality’, for example, someone being deemed as intentionally homeless for not engaging, which could be a problem with very chaotic or vulnerable clients.

Now the cross-party Communities and Local Government Committee has recommended a number of amendments to the Bill including to the clause on intentionality whereby people could become ineligible for housing assistance for failing to ‘cooperate’ with the council’s support.

The Chair of the Committee, Labour MP Clive Betts, said: “Despite measures elsewhere in the draft bill that foster a partnership approach, clause 8 reverts to the adversarial ‘take it or leave it’ approach. If the clause is to stay in the bill, we believe it should be redrafted to ensure that protections for vulnerable people in priority need are not weakened.”

I hope this simple amendment can be made to what is, overall, a very welcome step in the right direction.

You can still write to your MP to urge them to attend the debate. You can contact your MP by completing the short form on this link.


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