Government Reply: Homelessness
At the start of October, I wrote to the Government asking them to retain Havering's Homelessness Prevention Grant. This followed a Romford Recorder article that suggested the Borough was facing a 25% cut in the grant.
I have now received a reply, from the Department for Levelling-Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC).
The wording of the letter is below.
It appears, to me, that a cut may be coming. Although it may be a smaller one for the next two years. This means that there is going to be increasing pressure, on Havering Council, to tackle rising homelessness in our Borough.
Now, more than ever, our council must ensure we have a home for everyone.
Dear Cllr Taylor,
Thank you for your email of 06/10/2022 regarding homelessness and rough sleeping and the Homelessness Prevention Grant. I am replying as I work in the team responsible for homelessness and rough sleeping policy.
I recognise your concerns about the levels of homelessness. The Government is clear that no one should be without a roof over their head. The £2 billion pledged to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the next three years, will enable local partners to better plan services and maximise efficiencies, this demonstrates our commitment to build on recent progress to end rough sleeping this Parliament and fully enforce the Homelessness Reduction Act. We will continue our work to support the most vulnerable in society and end rough sleeping for good.
The Homelessness Reduction Act, the most ambitious reform to homelessness legislation in decades, came into force in April 2018. It places duties on local housing authorities to take reasonable steps to try to prevent and relieve a person’s homelessness. Over half a million households have been supported to secure accommodation since the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act.
We provided £316 million to councils through the Homelessness Prevention Grant in 2022/23, including more than £2 million for the London Borough of Havering to ensure families are not left without a roof over their heads.
In July 2022, we launched a consultation to review the Homelessness Prevention Grant funding arrangements for 2023-25 onwards. This included proposals to update the allocations methodology, with the aim to better align funding allocations to current pressures. Determining whether the formula is still reflective of current pressures, and accounts for how different factors result in homelessness pressures, was the core part of this consultation exercise.
This consultation did not announce any funding or confirm any allocations to local authorities. The allocations provided in the consultation were purely illustrative in order to help local authorities understand how different elements of the funding formula impact their allocation. Actual allocations are highly likely to change before being finalised.
Irrespective of any funding changes as a result of an updated formula, we are proposing to mitigate against financial losses or gains in the short-term, by introducing transitional arrangements and capping the percentage change in funding for each local authority at 5% in 2023/24 and 10% in 2024/25.
The consultation closed in August 2022. We are currently reviewing all the responses and will be publishing our response alongside final allocations in due course.
Thank you for raising this important matter, I hope that you find this information useful.