Bedford MP backs new legislation to reduce homelessness

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Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford, attended the second reading of the homelessness reduction bill in Parliament today, which was passed by the House of Commons with government support.

The bill will ensure that local authorities provide homelessness services to all those affected, not just those who are protected under existing legislation.

It will also legally require local authorities to introduce measures to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.

Richard backed the bill to reduce homelessness, continuing his work with national and local homeless charities such as the King’s Arms Project in Bedford.

Speaking from the House for Commons, Richard said: “This bill aims to prevent people from losing their homes through early intervention and cross agency support and helps those who are not currently considered a priority under current legislation.

“At the moment, if you don’t have dependent children or you can’t prove that you are particularly vulnerable, your local authority has no legal obligation to offer you help.”

The bill places a prevention duty on local authorities to help anyone who is eligible and at risk of homelessness to secure accommodation, 56 days before they are threatened with homelessness regardless of their priority need status.

It also creates a new duty for councils to provide those who find themselves homeless with support for a further period of 56 days to help to secure accommodation.

The bill will also ensure that other local services refer those either homeless or at risk of being homeless to local authority housing teams.

The passing of the bill, proposed by Conservative MP Bob Blackman, follows a government commitment to provide a £40million fund to prevent homelessness and help those on the streets with the most complex needs.