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Families in Temporary Accommodation

Volume 678: debated on Monday 20 July 2020

What steps his Department is taking to ensure that recipient local authorities are informed when a family is moved by another local authority to temporary accommodation in their local authority area. (904950)

The Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2012 and the homelessness code of guidance set out that local authorities should try to place households within the area, that when that is not possible, they should place the household as near as possible, and that that should be a last resort. If a local authority places a family outside its area, it is required by law to notify the local authority in the area in which the family are placed.

How does the law work without enforcement? We know from the programme “Ross Kemp: Living with...” that homeless families travel approximately 400,000 miles—or 16 times round the globe—each year to get to their temporary accommodation, and 60 councils are not informing the receiving authorities. That is the reality; what are the Government going to do about it?

The hon. Lady cares passionately about this issue and has raised it in the House recently. If a local authority places a household into temporary accommodation in another area, it is, as I said, required by law to notify that local authority to ensure that there is no disruption in schooling or employment. Our homelessness and advice support team should hold local authorities to account for their performance on this matter, and the Local Government Association is doing work with local authorities from London and throughout the country to develop a protocol for out-of-area placements. We are clear, from the Front Bench, that councils should adhere to this basic legal requirement.