Major Homelessness Reform Comes into Force in Wales
The most fundamental reform to Welsh homelessness legislation in over 30 years has come into force, ensuring people who are homeless or facing homelessness will receive help as early as possible.
The new provisions form part of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, and require greater joint working between the Welsh Government, local authorities and the housing industry – including the private rented sector and housing associations. Since the introduction of the Act in September 2014, the Welsh Government has supported local authorities to help them prepare for the reforms and has provided additional funding, guidance and training programmes to ensure it is introduced successfully.
The new, inclusive system is designed to help everyone at risk rather than just those in priority groups and introduces:
- a new duty to help anyone threatened with homelessness within the next 56 days;
- a duty to provide help to any homeless person to help them secure a home;
- a power rather than a duty to apply the intentionality test;
- new powers for Local authorities to discharge their homelessness duties through finding accommodation in the private rented sector; and
- stronger duties on Housing Associations to support local authorities in carrying out their homelessness duties.
It is hoped the new provisions will prevent three out of four people at risk of homelessness in Wales from losing their home.
Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths, said:
“This legislation is a UK first and the most significant piece of homelessness law in well over 30 years.
“I recognise the challenges faced by all those involved in the housing sector, with continuing pressure on public finances, the rising cost of living and increasing demands on the affordable housing supply. This is why we are implementing this forward-thinking legislation, which focuses on the prevention of homelessness and reducing the number of people who go through the trauma of becoming homeless.”