3 The number of homeless households in England is increasing. 57, 750 households were accepted as statutory homeless and in priority need in 2015/16, up 6% on a year earlier. The total numbers in temporary accommodation are also rising. Local housing authorities took action to prevent homelessness for 50,990 households in April to June 2016, up 4% from 48,820 in April to June 2015.
4 Some local housing authorities are likely to concentrate on their statutory duties, which are focused on households in ‘priority need’, under the Housing Act 1996 ("The 1996 Act"). Certain categories of household, such as families with dependent children, pregnant women and households that include someone who is vulnerable (for example because of old age or disability), have a ‘priority need’ for accommodation. In these instances, those who do not meet the threshold for ‘priority need’ often receive little support.
5 In Wales new provisions on prevention and relief of homelessness were introduced in the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, extending support to all applicants, whether or not they are in ‘priority need’. These were commenced in April 2015 and have been operating for over a year now.
6 The Communities and Local Government Select Committee conducted an inquiry into a draft of the Bill and published a report on 14 October ahead of the publication of the finalised Bill on 21 October 2016. 1 The Committee found that there was more to be done to ensure that those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness receive consistently high levels of service across the country.
1 Communities and Local Government Committee, Fifth Report of Session 2016–17, The draft Homelessness Reduction Bill, HC 635