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Research into the Homelessness Reduction Act

Update, 30th May: our final report on the Homelessness Reduction Act is available here.

In 2018, thanks to successful campaigning from Crisis and other organisations, the Homelessness Reduction Act came into force. Ever since then Crisis has been researching how effective the HRA has been – and we’re publishing our final report this month.

What is the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA)?

The HRA, which came into effect in April 2018, represented the most fundamental change to homelessness legislation in England in 40 years. The help councils were required to give to people facing homelessness completely transformed.

This included two new duties: to prevent people from becoming homeless if they were at risk of losing accommodation in 56 days, and to provide ‘relief’ to those who were already homeless.

Why was the HRA needed?

Before the HRA, it was possible to turn many people away from receiving support if they weren’t deemed a ‘priority’ – a category reserved mostly for families with children.

The HRA changed this. Regardless of whether you have ‘priority need’, a ‘local connection’ or could be deemed ‘intentionally’ homeless, a local council now has to take reasonable steps to accommodate you if you’re currently homeless or at risk of homelessness in the next 56 days.

How did the HRA come about, and what was Crisis’ role?

Crisis was involved from the initial conception to the enactment of the legislation, and many others passionate about this issue and who work with people facing homelessness campaigned with us. The No One Turned Away campaign in 2011 led to additional funding to tackle single homelessness. Then, our Turned Away research in 2014 revealed how councils were continuing to exclude people from support.

In 2017, Crisis convened an expert panel to review current homelessness legislation. MP Bob Blackman then sponsored a private members’ bill which became a government backed bill. A coalition campaign eventually led to the passing of the HRA in parliament.

Is the HRA working?

There’s been some initial research into the HRA, but not much of it has involved speaking to the people facing homelessness it’s designed to help. Following our interim A Foot in the Door report, we’re now launching a final assessment of the effectiveness of the HRA, after speaking to over 1500 people and staff in six local authorities.

Our report will be published at the end of May. If you want to know more, please email