In the previous two years of the Housing Advisers Programme, we have funded over 100 councils to help councils build homes, reduce homelessness, plan for population ageing, understand the student housing market and increase supply of modular housing.
- Homelessness is a tragedy for every individual who experiences it and is one of the most pressing issues facing councils. Councils are doing everything they can to tackle homelessness, support those affected and prevent it from happening in the first place.
- Through its sector-led improvement offer, the LGA helps councils improve performance, become more efficient and effective, and share good practice. As part of that offer, we provide a Housing Advisers Programme which is designed to support councils seeking to innovate in meeting the housing needs of their communities. In the previous two years of the Housing Advisers Programme, we have funded over 100 councils to help councils build homes, reduce homelessness, plan for population ageing, understand the student housing market and increase supply of modular housing.
- Rising levels of homelessness and the increasing cost of using expensive bed and breakfast accommodation have pushed homelessness services to breaking point. Homelessness has been driven by a severe shortage of affordable social housing and huge gaps between rents and housing benefits, which is leaving housing too unaffordable for low income families. This is leaving councils with no choice but to place more and more families in temporary accommodation, including bed and breakfasts.
- Councils should be given additional flexibilities and funding to build desperately needed affordable homes. They should be able to keep 100 per cent of Right to Buy receipts to reinvest in new homes, and be able to set Right to Buy discounts locally.
- The Government can adapt welfare reforms to protect families at risk of becoming homeless. They can do this by restoring local housing allowance rates to cover at least the lowest third of market rents.
- We welcome recent funding for homelessness services, including the £422 million resource to help reduce homelessness and rough sleeping, including an additional £54 million in 2020/21. This needs to be followed by a sustainable long-term settlement.
- The LGA is calling on the Government to use the forthcoming Budget to give councils the tools and powers they need to resume their historic role as major housebuilders of good, quality affordable homes for social rent, and to invest in homelessness prevention to stop people from becoming homeless in the first place.
Download the full briefing
Opposition Day Debate, Homelessness, House of Commons, 29 January 2020