The Conservative Group for Brighton and Hove City Council has welcomed the Government’s support for a private member’s Bill to reduce homelessness, calling it a huge step for social justice.
The Homelessness Reduction Bill will widen the scope of who is eligible for support and transform the way in which homeless people are looked after in England.
Current rules, which date back to 1977, specify that only single mothers and fathers, individuals with mental health issues or victims of domestic violence and those who have recently left the armed forces can go to the front of the queue for housing assistance. However, the Government backed private member’s Bill, put forward by Conservative MP Bob Blackman, will place a new duty on councils to prevent the homelessness of anyone eligible for assistance within 56 days, regardless of their official ‘priority need’ status.
Leader of the Conservative Group, Councillor Geoffrey Theobald said “Homelessness and rough sleeping is a huge issue in Brighton and Hove and has got increasingly worse over this and the previous administration. As a Group we have often expressed that as a Council we should be doing everything we can to help people who find themselves in such situations, often through no fault of their own. This Bill, together with the Government’s recent £40m programme of measures to tackle homelessness, shows exactly that – a real commitment from the Conservatives in doing all we can to help those who lose their homes and provide them with the support they need to get their lives back on track.”
The £40m programme of new measures to tackle homelessness announced last week includes £20 million for local authorities to pilot new initiatives to tackle homelessness, £10 million for targeted support for those at imminent risk of sleeping rough or those new to the streets and £10 million in Social Impact Bonds to help long-term rough sleepers with the most complex needs.