London's boroughs have a responsibility to tackle homelessness. In particular, they are required to help secure permanent accommodation for homeless people in priority need and can offer more general advice and assistance. Reforms to the Localism Act have provided greater flexibility to local authorities, but increasing claims and a shortage of available accommodation has meant that boroughs face severe challenges in meeting their statutory duties.
In this context, there is an increasing focus on the measures needed to reduce the problem and to probide suitable accommodation for those in need. London Councils supports boroughs in tackling homelessness through sharing information and good practice, and lobbying the government to recognise the severe pressures London faces. This includes lobbying for greater recognition of the impact of welfare reform in the capital and the need for distinctive policies and funding arrangements to help boroughs manage its effects.
In March 2011, London Councils' leaders agreed the development of the Inter Borough Accommodation Agreement (IBAA). This was produced in response to the impact of welfare reform and the ensuing likelihood that more homeless households would need to be placed outside of their host borough. This agreement sets out the measures to be taken when families are placed outside of borough boundaries. London Councils has also assisted borough housing directors in agreeing an advice note on the placement of homeless households outside London, to ensure that information is shared openly and transparently on the very rare occasions when such placements need to be made.
Via the London borough housing directors, we also help to facilitate the London Homelessness Awards - in memory of Andy Ludlow which recognise innovative work to tackle homelessness in the capital.