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Minister calls on councils to get ready to help homeless people

Speaking to the LGA Homelessness Roundtable, Mr. Shapps said that councils must continue to find ways to help those declared to be statutorily homeless a top priority – and that proposed new powers will allow councils to make better use of the private sector.

Currently, where a family has been accepted as owed the main homelessness duty, they can wait for an offer of social housing. If this is not immediately available, they are accommodated in expensive temporary accommodation.

So he said that by working with their local landlords and letting agents now, councils can forge links ready for when the proposed new powers come into force – expected to be early next year – and get more homeless families out of temporary accommodation and back on a stable footing faster.

Councils would be able to use private sector accommodation where they are satisfied that it is suitable for the family’s needs and is available for at least 12 months. He said not only will this help those declared statutorily homeless, it will also free up social homes for those who need it most – ending the ‘scandal’ of 1.75 million people on social housing waiting lists.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said

"Councils must be given greater flexibility in meeting the housing needs of their local area. Our proposed reforms will allow councils to make better use of private sector accommodation in providing a safe, secure and stable home to those in greatest need.

"But they will need to ensure that vulnerable or at-risk families are not inappropriately housed. And they must ensure that the accommodation is suitable, safe and secure and available for a minimum of 12 months.

"The current system is ripe for reform, and the changes we’re bringing in will ensure that from now on our social housing helps as many people as possible, protects the most vulnerable in society, and ensures that those in greatest housing need are given priority."

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2 thoughts on “Minister calls on councils to get ready to help homeless people

  1. I run a letting agency in Leeds and we currently work with the Local Authority rehousing people decalred Statutorily Homeless. Leeds City Council has been operating a PRS scheme for sometime and both ourselves and our clients have found it highly beneficial. The authority do not “place” the Tenant. It is still upto the Agent/Landlord to be selective and carry out the usual pre-tenancy checks, but so far, so good.

  2. I own a letting agency in Leeds and we have been working with the local authority in a similar vein for some time. Our clients have found the scheme highly beneficial as they receive direct rent, shorter void periods and the backup if a damage liability scheme where Tenants do not have funds for a bond. The tenant selection process is the same as a “private” let, in that the Authority do not “place” tenants but rather the Council have a list of empty properties and they arrange viewings with us. We can still be as selective and carry out the usual pre-tenancy checks before agreeing a let. The scheme can work if the model here in Leeds is followed throughout the UK.

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