The Department for Communities & Local Government announced the arrangements for the administration of the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant in March 2017.
The Flexible Homelessness Support Grant is designed to transform the way councils fund homelessness services to give them greater flexibility to prioritise the prevention of homelessness. It is described as a radical replacement of the tightly controlled funding currently given to source and manage temporary accommodation for homeless individuals and their families.
The new grant will empower councils with the freedom to support the full range of homelessness services. This could include employing a homelessness prevention or tenancy support officer to work closely with people who are at risk of losing their homes.
Homelessness is an increasing problem in England that is resulting in increasing numbers of people living in temporary accommodation at considerable cost. The introduction of the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant is part of a package of measures that are designed to address this. The objective is to reduce homelessness (and to reduce expenditure on homelessness) by taking preventative action to ensure that people do not become homeless in the first place.
The approach is consistent with the Homelessness Reduction Bill that has been passed by Parliament and is awaiting royal assent. It provides local authorities with more funding that they can use more flexibly, that is ring-fenced and that is targeted at areas of greatest need.
The Flexible Homelessness Support Grant has been welcomed in the local government and housing sectors as a step forward. However, there are concerns that the government’s measures will not be sufficient to address homelessness adequately and that there is a need for increased resources, a higher level of Local Housing Allowance and increased provision of new social housing.
The purpose of this briefing paper is to describe the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant and to provide some analysis and commentary.
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The Flexible Homelessness Support Grant is designed to transform the way councils fund homelessness service.