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Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities

Purpose of the code

1.1 The Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is issuing this code of guidance to local housing authorities (referred to as housing authorities) in England under section 182 of the Housing Act 1996 (‘the 1996 Act’). In accordance with section 182(1) of the 1996 Act, housing authorities are required to have due regard to this statutory guidance in exercising their functions relating to homelessness and prevention of homelessness, including their functions under Part 7 of the 1996 Act (as amended) and under the Homelessness Act 2002 (‘the 2002 Act’). This code replaces and consolidates the previous version published in 2006 and the supplementary guidance issued in August 2009, November 2012 and November 2014.

1.2 Under section 182(1), social services authorities in England are also required to have regard to guidance given by the Secretary of State (such as this code) when exercising their functions relating to homelessness and the prevention of homelessness. Further guidance applicable to social services authorities is also issued jointly with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Secretary of State for Education.

1.3 The code provides guidance on how housing authorities should exercise their functions relating to homelessness and threatened homelessness and apply the statutory duties in practice. This is not a substitute for legislation and therefore any policy context on the law documented in the code should be considered only as the Department’s understanding at the time of issue. While it is intended that the code will be updated periodically, housing authorities are expected to keep up to date with developments in legislation and case law.

1.4 The Secretary of State has the power to issue statutory codes of practice, providing further guidance on how housing authorities should deliver and monitor their homelessness and homelessness prevention functions. Any codes of practice will focus on specific functions of housing authorities in order to drive up standards.