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Local Authorities: Housing

Volume 476: debated on Monday 19 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has issued to local authorities on their strategic roles in housing in changing market conditions. (201413)

As part of their statutory responsibilities we expect local authorities to provide advice and assistance to households threatened with homelessness. We are providing homelessness grant to all councils in England totalling £150 million over the next three years.

All local authorities should be supporting their local money advice agencies to advise people on how they can avoid getting into unnecessary debt. Local authorities will negotiate with individual lenders on a case by case basis where repossession is threatened. We are also working with local authorities to ensure that Court Desk sendees are available to people facing repossession action so that they have legal representation on the day. These areas of work are covered in “Preventing Homelessness: A Strategy Health Check” which we published in September 2006 as a toolkit for local authorities, and continue to use in our work to support local authorities in implementing their local homelessness strategies.

We aim to publish guidance to local authorities about the local authority strategic housing role later in the year, encouraging local authorities to assess and plan for the current and future housing needs of the local population across all tenures. This guidance will supplement the capacity building support that we have funded the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) to provide to help local authorities deliver their strategic housing role.