Homelessness Policy - The Legal framework
The Moray Council will ensure that the policy complies with current legislation, promotes good practice and has regard to:
- the Code of Guidance on Homelessness 2005 (Code of Guidance);
- Meeting the Best Interests of Children Facing Homelessness Guidance (2008) and Getting it Right for Every Child ; and
- the Prevention of Homelessness Guidance (2009).
The primary legislation relating to the provision of homelessness services is the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 , as amended by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 and the Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003 .
- Part II of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 (as amended) places a duty on local authorities to secure accommodation for persons who are homeless and who did not become homeless intentionally.
- The key aspect of the implementation of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 was the duty for local authorities to carry out an assessment of homelessness in their area, and prepare and submit a homelessness strategy to Scottish Ministers, when requested to do so. In addition, local authorities have a duty to ensure that free advice and information about homelessness and its prevention are available in the local authority area.
- Amongst other responsibilities, the Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003 amended the priority need categories and gave Scottish Ministers the power to abolish the priority need test (2012 target) and make amendments to the intentionality and local connection distinctions.
Section 32B of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 (as inserted by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010, section 158) places a statutory duty on local authorities to assess the need for housing support services. The types of housing support services are prescribed by the Housing Support Services (Homelessness) (Scotland) Regulations 2012 . If the Council has reason to believe that a customer may be in need of one or more of these services, it must assess whether the customer, or any person residing with the customer, is in need of such support. If so, the Council must ensure that the service is provided to the person who needs it.
The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 requires the Council to assess the needs of young people formerly “looked after” by the authority, and provide housing and support solutions to enable them to move on to independent living.
It is recognised that the Scottish Government in its consultation on the Children and Young People Bill indicated that it plans to legislate to raise the age that a young person leaving care has the right to ask for help from a local authority from 18 to 25. This policy will be subject to future review to reflect any changes arising from any future legislation.
The Council adheres to other relevant legislation, including the Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981, the Data Protection Act 1998 , the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010 .
For the purposes of this policy, those who use the service, including customers, service users and customers of temporary accommodation will be referred to as customers.
This policy is concerned with creating equal opportunities for people who are excluded from a most basic human need – a home of their own. The Council recognises that the service deals with a diverse range of people including those who are vulnerable and in highly stressful personal circumstances. The Council will therefore:
- ensure that all individuals and household are treated sympathetically and with courtesy and respect;
- be sensitive and respond to the individual needs and circumstances of the people using the services; and
- monitor services and the outcomes for people using them, to ensure that they are fair and responsive to needs.
To support the needs of customers whose first language is not English, the Council will provide translation and interpretation services when needed. The Council will ensure that information is accessible and available in other formats such as large print, tape and Braille, as required approach to Homelessness in Moray
The Council will endeavour to ensure that no individual is discriminated against on grounds of sex or marital status, on racial grounds, or on grounds of disability, age, sexual orientation, language or social origin, or other personal attributes, including beliefs, or opinions, such as religious beliefs or political opinions.
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