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Homelessness and Rehousing

Volume 655: debated on Monday 4 March 2019

I have announced over £19.5 million in direct funding to 66 local authorities to provide support to those who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, to secure accommodation in the private rented sector.

Everybody deserves a stable, safe and secure place to call home. It is vital we give people facing homelessness a route out of it and a chance to rebuild their lives. The private rented sector has an important role to play in this. This announcement adds another powerful tool for local authorities to use to help prevent and relieve homelessness for thousands of households.

Through this funding local authorities will be able to provide financial support to help people access the private rental market and maintain their tenancies, through the payment of deposits or rent payments. It will enable authorities to provide support to tenants to help them overcome difficulties that might otherwise threaten their tenancies. It will also enable 35 authorities to purchase an insurance policy to cover the costs of landlords if tenants default on their rent or damage their rented property, enabling individuals to access parts of the private sector they could not previously access.

This funding complements existing Government action to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. It sits alongside our £1.2 billion funding programme to tackle homelessness, and the Homelessness Reduction Act, the most ambitious legislative reform in decades, to ensure more people receive the help they need, at an earlier stage. It also forms part of our wide-ranging reforms to rebalance the relationship between landlords and tenants, and deliver a fairer, more affordable, higher quality and more secure private rented sector, and ensures that vulnerable people receive the support they need to navigate housing options at a local level.

The full list of successful areas and allocations of funding can be found here: minister-unlocks-private-rented-sector-for-most-vulnerable.

As part of this work to protect vulnerable people, I would like to stress the Government’s commitment to ensuring those who receive housing support are able to access the properties they need. Our latest figures show that around half of landlords said they would not be willing to let to tenants on Housing Benefit—ruling out thousands of vulnerable people and families. As the Prime Minister recently stated, we have already started working with Shelter following their campaign raising awareness of so-called ‘No DSS’ adverts. Over the coming months, Ministers will meet with industry representatives including mortgage providers, landlord associations, tenant groups and property websites to develop ways to stop the unfair exclusion of tenants in receipt of housing support. This will help us take steps to eradicate this practice and ensure people in receipt of housing support can access the homes they need.

Rapid rehousing pathway 2019-20 funding round

Separately, I have also announced that we are inviting local authorities to apply for the Rapid Rehousing Pathway 2019-20 funding round. This second round of funding invites local authorities to bid for all or any elements of the Rapid Rehousing Pathway which includes Somewhere Safe to Stay hubs, specialist Navigators, Local Lettings Agencies and Supported Lettings. This follows the announcement of a combined 53 ‘early adopter’ areas in December 2018 and February 2019. The link to the applications page can be found here:

Applications for the new funding round will be accepted up to 23:59 on 29 March 2019, and we intend to announce successful bids in the spring.