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Lord warns of ‘repeat homelessness’ over Localism Bill measure

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Lord warns of ‘repeat homelessness’ over Localism Bill measure


Published by 24publishing for in Housing

Lord warns of ‘repeat homelessness’ over Localism Bill measure Lord warns of ‘repeat homelessness’ over Localism Bill measure

Short-term tenancies run the risk of creating a "cycle of repeat homelessness", a Liberal Democrat peer warned yesterday during the second reading of the Localism Bill.

The Bill removes security of tenure for new social tenants and brings in a new form of short-term tenancy, minimum of two years, which can be offered by councils.

It will also allow councils to meet their statutory duties by putting the homeless in the private rented sector with a minimum 12-month fixed term. The Government says both measures will free up much needed social homes for people on the waiting list.

Liberal Democrat Lord Shipley, vice president of the Local Government Association and a member of Newcastle City Council, said: “Short-term tenancies run the risk of creating a cycle of repeat homelessness; and rather than create yet more insecurity for people and communities, reform should focus on long-term solutions that deliver the security that vulnerable people need.”

He added: "Reviewing tenancies every 24 months is too short a timeframe to secure that ability to build confidence and act on opportunities for employment."

Lord Patel of Bradford warned the homelessness reform would have a “devastating” impact.

He said: “Homeless families will no longer be able to refuse unsuitable accommodation in the private rented sector. This could lead to vulnerable adults and children being housed in inappropriate and insecure settings where their mental health and well-being could be seriously threatened.”

He warned that a safeguard – whereby those made unintentionally homeless within two years of having their homelessness duty passed to the PRS are still entitled to housing assistance – was not sufficient protection.

Crossbench peer Lord Adebowale, chief executive of charity Turning Point, said shorter term tenancies and the homelessness reform would have the opposite effect of freeing up housing.

He said: “Limited tenure is likely to obstruct the social good of mixed and diverse communities. The social housing population is likely to become more transient, which could lead to further alienation as the social capital which maintains healthy, resilient communities is lost.”

Baroness Hanham, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government, sought to reassure peers over changes to future council house tenancies.

The minimum would be two years, she said. "But the expectation is that, by and large, it will be much longer than that.

"Social landlords need to have the understanding that, if they have someone who doesn't necessarily need social housing for longer than a certain length of time, they don't have to give them a long tenancy."

The Bill is due to begin its line-by-line committee stage on June 20.


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