The Homelessness Reduction Act comes into force today. One of the key changes is that councils must carry out an initial assessment and formulate a personal housing plan. They must also keep the assessment and plan under review. Today's free documents are for notifying the applicant when the s.189A assessment or housing plan has changed.
The following letters, now in the Resources section, enable you to notify a change in the assessment or plan:
This is perhaps one of the more onerous new duties for local housing authorities. Homeless persons' circumstances and, particularly the steps they should be taking, may change quite a few times during the life of their application.
While you can't ignore the duties to review a homeless applicant's assessment and housing plan (set out at s.189A(9) to (11) of the Housing Act 1996), I think assessment officers will be doing well to ensure that all relevant applicants are notified of the initial assessment and plan. Particularly if the council they work for receive high numbers of applications and assessment officers carry heavy caseloads.
When training on the new legislation I've been asked quite a few times:
What are the implications for councils who don't comply with the duty to issue a revised assessment or housing plan?
Interesting question. This is likely to be something we'll have to consider as decisions are challenged in the coming months.
There's further guidance if you need it here.
As ever, do let me have any comments you have on the documents.