The Homelessness Reduction Act aims to reduce the number of households becoming homeless and living in temporary accommodation or sleeping rough.

Councils must help anyone at risk of becoming homeless within 56 days. This excludes people whose immigration status makes them ineligible to receive public funds, such as benefits.

Help includes supporting people to stay in their accommodation or helping them find somewhere to live, for example, by providing a rent deposit or debt advice.


Changes made by the Homeless Reduction Act

When the Homelessness Reduction Act came into effect in April 2018, the way that Councils deal with homelessness changed. These changes were:

  • Applicants are now owed a duty to be assisted when they are threatened with homelessness within 56 days. This was previously 28 days.
  • Applicants are now owed a duty to be assisted when they receive a valid section 21 notice. There was previously no automatic duty to receive assistance when a notice was received.
  • Applicants who are homeless or threatened with homelessness must now receive clear advice to assist them to resolve their housing issues. These are called Personalised Housing Plans. This was not previously a requirement.
  • In October 2018 a Duty to refer came into effect. This places a duty upon prescribed public bodies to refer anyone who is homeless or threatened with homelessness (with consent from the individual)


Advice and support

If you're homeless or at risk of homelessness, please approach the housing options team by visiting the council offices in Welwyn Garden City. You will be asked to answer a few questions so we can direct you to help and support as soon as possible.

After you have contacted us we will provide you with a personalised housing plan, setting out and agreeing the steps that will need to be taken to try and prevent your homelessness.


Temporary accommodation

The Homelessness Reduction Act doesn't require councils to accommodate a homeless person who has no priority need for housing.

We will still support or provide accommodation to people who have other support needs. The housing options officer you are interviewed by will determine whether you are in a priority need.