Crisis: we need your help to reform England’s homelessness legislation

Friday, 27 May 2016 - 11:59am

Can you help Crisis convince MPs to propose a private member’s bill to push for stronger, fairer single homelessness legislation?

It has long been the case that under the law single homeless people can end up with little or no help when they approach their local council because they are not considered to be in priority need, are deemed intentionally homeless or don’t have a local connection.

We think that a better system is possible. Crisis has been part of an expert panel with other charities like Homeless Link and St Mungo’s, as well as local authorities, academics and lawyers that has published detailed proposals showing how that better system could work.

The review provides a strong case for reform, while proposing a new legislative model with three key aims, including the introduction of:

  • a stronger information and advice duty;
  • a homelessness prevention duty for all eligible households, similar to the legislative change recently enacted in Wales; and
  • a relief duty for all eligible homeless people who have a local connection.

Private member’s bill

A small number of MPs have been selected in a ballot for the chance to propose a private member’s bill.

This presents a rare chance to make these proposals law, but only if we are able to persuade an MP to take this issue on, above the many others vying for their attention. The MPs with the best chance of bringing in this crucial reform are:

  • Bob Blackman (Con) - MP for Harrow East
  • Alec Shelbrooke (Con) - MP for Elmet and Rothwell
  • Kelly Tolhurst (Con) - MP for Rochester and Strood
  • Edward Argar (Con) - MP for Charnwood
  • James Morris (Con) - MP for Halesowen and Rowley Regis

If you would like the homelessness legislation to be reformed there are two ways that you can help to win them over.

Voices of experience

Crisis has created an online campaign action specifically for people with lived experience of homelessness: crisis.org.uk/nooneturnedaway.

Please promote this to your clients, or anyone with past or current experience of homelessness. In addition, Crisis may be able to help set up a session in your service to help people write letters in person. You can contact steve.lee@crisis.org.uk for further details.  

In your area?

If you are in the constituency of one of the named MPs, the Crisis action, the same campaign page also allows you to email them directly, which is another great way to get this issue on their agenda.

Hopefully we’ll be able to update you soon that these efforts have paid off and that MPs will soon be debating a bill in parliament to greatly improve the way that single homeless people are supported.