Alongside the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 local authorities are also working hard to implement the Housing (Wales)Act 2014.
A significant part of the new legislation is Part 2 deals with homelessness and includes stronger duties to mainstream prevention of homelessness in all local authorities in Wales, including:
Introducing a new corporate duty for local authorities to take reasonable steps to help people avoid homelessness
Keeping the definition of homelessness unchanged, but extending the definition of ‘threatened with homelessness’ from 28 to 56 days; and
Allowing local authorities to discharge their homelessness duty through an offer of good quality private rented sector housing.Like the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act the new housing legislation has prevention and early intervention at its heart. It represents a significant development of the approach. It builds on the move in recent years towards more prevention, but reinforces it and enshrines it in law. In short, the new legislation will mean more help for more people, which will result in higher rates of homelessness prevention.
The Housing (Wales) Act will result in a transformation of the way in which homelessness support is offered to homeless people in Wales. Mainstreaming prevention services across the whole of Wales.
The new legislation will result in the redeployment of resources – greater emphasis on prevention and a move away from the “have” and “have not” system which is reinforced by the existing Housing Act 1996.
The goal is more help for more people – a system of providing support for all through effective partnership working between all the relevant agencies, with an additional safety net for those people who are vulnerable.
Partnership and co-operation is crucial if they are to make a real difference to the resettlement of prisoners under the Housing (Wales) Act.
The housing duties will be implemented from April 2015, a year earlier than the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act but these two pieces of legislation present some unique opportunities to develop more integrated working. There are currently two consultations open on the Welsh Government website and with your knowledge and interest from a social care perspective they are keen to receive your views
Statutory Instrument consultation: closes 26 February 205
Code of Guidance consultation: closes 23 March 2015
Welsh Government website: Housing (Wales) Act 2014