Coventry Councillors will outline initial plans to tackle homelessness in the city this week - which will require £1.3m funding.
The national Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 comes into force on 3 April 2018, and will place new duties on Councils across the country.
A report will go before councillors on Tuesday (6 March) explaining that the council will need to earmark around £1.3m to manage the new duties. From the beginning of April Coventry City Council will need to set up much more robust processes and systems that aims to prevent homelessness, and increased support to people who are impacted by homelessness or the threat of homelessness.
Cllr George Duggins, Council Leader said it was still unclear what the final costs could be.
He said: “We are absolutely committed to doing all we can to reduce homelessness. Keeping people in permanent and suitable accommodation is really important.
“The new Act places much more responsibilities on local authorities. However, the government need to ensure that resources are made available for towns and cities to tackle this issue.”
There is an increasing demand from people requiring homelessness support nationally. Coventry is also feeling this pressure with an expected demand of 2,300 individuals and families asking for advice and assistance during 2017/18. During the first three quarters of 2017/18, of the total demand for the service, 407 applications were accepted as statutorily homeless based on the existing guidance.
The Homelessness Reduction Act includes a Prevention Duty. This duty applies for up to 56 days (potentially longer in cases where the household is threatened with homelessness if a valid Section 21 notice is served on the tenant).
For example, as part of this people who may find themselves threatened with eviction will have a personal housing plan. A new Homelessness prevention service will be set up by the Council to work with individuals over a period of time to help manage the issue.
Cllr Duggins added: “There is also a relief duty to support people who are already homeless. We are already having to house hundreds of families in hotels and other temporary accommodation which costs thousands of pounds each year.”
The Relief Duty will mean that the Council and the ‘applicant’ must agree ‘reasonable steps’ to help them to secure accommodation which is suitable and available for at least six months. This duty applies for up to 56 days (potentially in addition to 56 days under the Prevention Duty).
Along with the new duties the Council will also change the way its Homefinder Policy works.
The work will be closely monitored and reviewed over the coming months.