The Homelessness Reduction Bill - our chance to change the law

Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, introduced the Homelessness Reduction Bill in May 2016 after being selected at random as part of the annual Private Member's Bill ballot in the House of Commons.

The introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Bill follows months of lobbying by St Mungo's, our campaigners and other homelessness charities. Our Executive Director of Strategy and Policy, Dominic Williamson, sat on an expert panel alongside other experts in the field to look at the effect existing legislation had on people facing homelessness. They produced a report and drafted alternative legislation, something that we were keen to ensure formed the basis of the Homelessness Reduction Bill. You can download that here.

How does a bill become law?

For a bill to become an act and to be made law, it needs to pass through the same stages in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords (starting in the House where it was introduced). There are two readings - the first and the second, where Parliamentarians vote as to whether it proceeds to what is known as the committee stage. Following that, there's a report, and, finally, a third reading. A bill needs to go through that process in both Houses, and is only turned into an act through a final stage known as 'Royal Assent'.

Campaigning for the Homelessness Reduction Bill

The Homelessness Reduction Bill had its second and third readings in the House of Commons on Friday 28 October and 27 January. Friday is usually a constituency day for many MPs, so we called on St Mungo's supporters to email their MP and ask them to support the Bill and attend the debates instead.

4,000 of you emailed your MP, thousands more showed support for our campaign on social media or lobbied their local MP in other ways. Together, we generated enough buzz that in the fortnight before the second reading, both the leader of the Opposition and the Government announced their support for the Bill.

What next?

On 27 January, during its third reading in the Commons, the Minister for Local Government and Communities announced that there would be additional funding to help local councils meet proposed statutory duties should it become law. St Mungo's welcomes this announcement and urges Government to ensure that there is sufficient funding available for effective implementation.

The Homelessness Reduction Bill passed its third reading in the House of Lords on 23 March, and was not subject to any amends. This means that it just needs to receive Royal Assent to become law. This may take around a year to come into effect.

This would not have happened without the support of our campaigners, so a big thank you to all involved.

You can read the Bill here.

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