Helping those who end up on the street
Depending on who you listen to, any one of us could be one to three pay days away from becoming homeless.
Shelter, the homeless charity, says a YouGov survey has revealed that up to eight million people could be one pay day away from being able to pay their mortgage or rent.
So what's the process for helping those who do end up "on the street"?
Under "duty to refer" legislation, which comes into effect on October 1, public bodies have a duty to refer cases of threatened or actual homelessness to local authorities, such as Boston Borough Council.
Public bodies are:
- youth offender institutions
- secure training centres
- secure colleges
- youth offending teams
- probation services (including community rehabilitation companies)
- Jobcentre Plus
- social service authorities
- emergency departments
- urgent treatment centres and
- hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care.
The Secretary of State for Defence is also subject to the duty to refer in relation to members of the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the regular Army and the Royal Air Force. ]
The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 (HRA) requires local housing authorities to take enhanced action to prevent homelessness, create personalised housing plans and offer an information and advice service to those who are either threatened with or are actually homeless.
The Homelessness Code of Guidance focuses on the earliest possible identification of people at risk of homelessness and a single point of contact for public authority referrals.
All councils in Lincolnshire have decided to follow a common approach and have signed up to the web-based Alert system, go to https://bit.ly/2wDHhk5 This is complemented by a bespoke email address for referrals to the Boston area: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Alert portal is being promoted and made available to the police and other partners so the council can ensure, as far as practicable, that the earliest notification of potential homelessness is received and it can act upon it to support local people.