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Home > Housing > Homelessness advice > What is homelessness?

What is homelessness?

Changes in how we can help people who are at risk of homelessness

From 3 April 2018, the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 came into force. The act puts a legal duty on councils to offer more support to a wider range of people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness – and to intervene earlier.

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness in the next 56 days and are eligible for help, we have a legal duty to provide you with assistance.

Am I eligible for help?

You must be eligible for Social Housing, you can find more details on eligibility here. If you are subject to immigration control you will be asked for further information.
If you are eligible we are required to investigate your homelessness or threatened homelessness.

The Homelessness Reduction Act

The Act requires a fundamental change to the way the Council delivers its homeless support and advice services.

The new legal duties mean the Council must:

  • provide advice and carry out prevention work, so that where possible, people can be supported to remain in their current home;
  • offer everyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness access to meaningful help, irrespective of their priority need status, as long as they are eligible for assistance; and,
  • carry out prevention and relief work for anyone threatened with homelessness within 56 days (previously 28 days).

There is guidance available explaining these changes, they can be found in fact sheets produced by the Government. The code of guidance also explains in further detail what Local Authorities must follow to deliver the required homelessness service.

Please seek help and advice as soon as you think you may at risk of losing your home. This will give us more time to prevent you becoming homeless or to help you to find somewhere else to live before you do.