Government legislation and policy can play a role in:
- Identifying and addressing the drivers of homelessness
- Setting out responsibilities, goals, and objectives
- Providing policy and funding to support local communities
- Articulating how different government departments work together towards that end
Homelessness prevention legislation and policy is happening in various parts of the world. An example of this is the UK’s Homelessness Act of 2002 and further legislation in 2005, which instructed that local authorities have a duty to develop homelessness prevention strategies and provide quick options for individuals at risk of homelessness. Similarly, the Housing (Wales) Act of 2014 is an extensive rights-based approach to homelessness prevention. It states that local and public authorities, non-profit and voluntary organizations, and other providers have a “duty to help to prevent an applicant from becoming homeless”, and instructs them to inform, assist and navigate supports and services. Finland’s recent Action Plan for Preventing Homelessness ensures that anyone who interacts with the public service system has secure housing. Other examples include Ireland, the U.S. and Washington State.