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27 April 2015

New legislation requires local authorities and HAs to do more to prevent homelessness

Radical changes to homelessness legislation requiring greater co-operation between local authorities and housing associations in preventing and responding to homelessness will take effect from today.

The changes, outlined in the Housing Wales Act 2014, include a strengthened duty on local authorities to prevent homelessness. Local authorities will have to take all “reasonable steps" to prevent someone from losing their home within 56 days. The changes require a culture shift in how homelessness is tackled and assessed by housing professionals and is the most radical shake up in homelessness legislation in the last 30 years.

Commenting on the legislation, Stuart Ropke highlighted its significance in preventing one of the worst forms of social exclusion in Wales. He emphasised that “improved partnership working and holistic approaches to assessing needs of those at risk of homelessness will be crucial in maximising the impact of the legislation.”

Community Housing Cymru, Cymorth Cymru and WLGA are holding three events focusing on the new legislation. Funded by the Welsh Government, these events in Swansea, Merthyr and Llanrwst will give an overview of the Act’s new duties and will examine solutions and best practice, as well as providing an opportunity to develop an understanding of how organisations are expected to work together within the new framework. You can book on to these courses by visiting: http://chcymru.org.uk/en/events/training-courses/forthcoming-training

For more information on the legislation, visit Welsh Government’s website: http://gov.wales/newsroom/?lang=en