Thursday 1 December 2016
The Homelessness Reduction Bill
- The Homelessness Reduction Bill was introduced by Bob Blackman MP, the Conservative MP for Harrow East.
- The Bill is needed because there has been a massive increase in homelessness. Since 2010 rough sleeping has more than doubled and the number of hidden homeless has increased even more.
- The Bill aims to change the law enabling local councils in England to take action to reduce homelessness and prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.
- The Bill aims to extend the amount of time before someone is made homeless. It will also put a legal responsibility on Councils to house people experiencing homelessness.
- The Bill is co-sponsored by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee and over 100 MPs pledged to support the Bill at its Second Reading that took place in October.
- The Government has confirmed its support of the Bill and has pledged to provide extra funding for local authorities to help pay for the new duties.
- Lots of Emmaus communities across England have written to, or met with, their MP to discuss the Bill and how it can help reduce homelessness. A number of companions and staff attended a mass lobby of MPs at the House of Commons.
- Emmaus UK has also been doing a lot of lobbying behind the scenes with MPs and Lords as well as co-ordinating work with Crisis and other homelessness organisations.
- There is still several stages the Bill must go through before it is passed including; the Committee Stage where the Bill is looked at in more detail by a smaller group of MPs. Next is the Report Stage followed by a Third Reading where the Bill can be examined and voted on again by all MPs. The Bill will then transfer to the House of Lords where the process is repeated. If the Bill passes its Third Reading in both the House of Commons and House of Lords, it will be given Royal Assent and become law.
- The Bill does not apply to Scotland or Wales. Similar legislation already exists in these areas and is already making a big difference.
The full text of the Homelessness Reduction Bill can be read here.