Homelessness – advice for practitioners
Homelessness covers a wide range of circumstances from sleeping on the streets, to families living in bed and breakfast hotels, to those without a home of their own.
There is no single reason why someone can end up without a home. Personal circumstances and wider factors both play their part.
A wide definition of homelessness is adopted in the Homelessness Monitor and considers the impacts of relevant policy and economic changes on all of the following homeless groups:
- people sleeping rough
- single homeless people living in hostels, shelters and temporary supported accommodation
- statutorily homeless households – households who seek housing assistance from local authorities on grounds of being currently or imminently without accommodation
- ‘hidden homeless’ households – people who may be considered homeless but whose situation is not ‘visible’ either on the streets or in official statistics.
Where to get help
Practitioners and the public can find local links and advice on the Manchester City Council website at manchester.gov.uk/homeless_people
If someone is at risk of becoming homeless, by acting quickly they may be able to get help to avoid it. The City Council can also help with general housing related advice or advice about privately rented homes.
There are other support and advice services that can help people to understand their options, these include:
- Shelter – a national charity with housing advice on a range of issues
- Citizen’s Advice Manchester – impartial advice and information about housing, benefits, debt, work and more
- Cheetham Hill Advice Centre – local support with with housing, benefits, debt problems and more
- Centrepoint – help and support for young people aged 16 – 25
- Manchester Move – social housing in Manchester
- Street Support – support services for people experiencing homelessness
- ‘emergency housing if you’re homeless‘ on the gov.uk pages
- Barnabus – a Christian Homeless Charity which gives out food and drink to the homeless
- Mustard Tree – support people in poverty and facing homelessness.
There are also a number of advice services that can help with the things that might be causing your homelessness, or making your problem worse. You can get help if you are:
Manchester City Council and partners have produced some excellent booklets that give a step-by-step guide through housing options and provide information and advice to support individuals and families to stay in their home:
- Our Manchester – Keeping Your Home (Jan 2019)
- Our Manchester – Finding A Home for FAMILIES (Jan 2019)
- Our Manchester – Finding A Home for INDIVIDUALS (Jan 2019)
Manchester Homelessness Strategy
The Strategy is a result of a wide-ranging review undertaken in 2013. The services MCC provides to people at risk of homelessness are informed by this strategy.
Find more information on the MCC website at manchester.gov.uk/homeless_people/homelessness_strategy
The Homelessness Reduction Act
The main changes in the new Act are listed below with links to the relevant sections of the Code of Guidance:
- there is now an extended duty (Chapter 3) to provide advisory services and to meet the needs of certain listed groups including those leaving prison, hospital or care and those with mental health issues
- there is now a legal duty to refer (Chapter 4) those who may be homeless or threatened with homelessness placed on several public bodies (including prisons, hospitals, probation services and social care)
- the definition of threatened with homelessness (Chapter 6) increases from 28 to 56 days
- eligibility (Chapter 7) remains an important concept, not all customers will be eligible for housing assistance
- priority need (Chapter 8) and local connection (Chapter 10) can make a difference at the homeless relief duty stage but councils cannot make an intentional decision here
- where prevention or relief duties are owed the council must conduct an assessment (Chapter 11) of the applicants’ reasons for homelessness, the housing needs of the applicant and any support needs the applicant has
- homeless prevention (Chapter 12) becomes a statutory duty for all eligible applicants regardless of whether they have a priority need or are seen as ‘vulnerable’
- if someone becomes homeless there is a new duty known as a homeless relief duty (Chapter 13)
- both prevention and relief duties (Chapter 14) last for 56 days but can be ended in several ways in that time
- there are lots more review points (Chapter 19) for customers who are unhappy with the decisions a local authority has made.
Homeless 16 & 17 year old young people
No single agency has sole responsibility for homeless 16 and 17 year old young people. Children’s Social Care and local Housing Authorities have statutory duties to these young people, and other statutory and voluntary agencies provide a range of services to them.
The purpose of the protocol is to ensure that partners continue to work together to provide a consistent and co-ordinated response to 16 and 17 year old young people (including teenage parents and pregnant teenagers) who present as homeless and are in need of accommodation or accommodation-related support.
It will also help to promote and safeguard the well-being of the young person and prevent homelessness, returning young people to their family wherever possible. If a return home is not possible, the objective is to find the most suitable accommodation for the young person and to help them to remain in that accommodation until they are ready, if appropriate, to move on to more suitable accommodation.
Greater Together Manchester is a joint venture between the Diocese of Manchester and Church Urban Fund (CUF). Their overall aim is to have some kind of network of grass root, coordinated responses to poverty in every locality, designed to address the specific needs of each community, that can offer practical support, advice, signposting and compassion as well as adapt quickly and efficiently to changing contexts.
Find out more about their homelessness projects at greatertogethermanchester.org/homelessness
GM Mayor’s Homelessness Fund
The Greater Manchester Mayor’s Homelessness Fund will support front line projects which can demonstrate they are supporting the Mayor’s objective to end rough sleeping and reduce homelessness.
The Fund is targeted at Greater Manchester-based organisations with charitable aims. To make an application to the fund visit the GM website at www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/homelessness
You can also download the Homeless Action Network Strategy from the website at www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk//homelessness
Street Support is a network of organisations, voluntary groups and kind-hearted folk, working together to end homelessness. You can find support services for people experiencing homelessness, and DO something to help – offering your time, money and resources to local organisations. Find out more at streetsupport.net/manchester/
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