Under section 175(4), a person is ‘threatened with homelessness’ if they are likely to become homeless within 56 days. Under section 175(5), a person is also threatened with homelessness if a valid notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 has been issued in respect of the only accommodation available for their occupation, and the notice will expire within 56 days. Section 195 provides that where applicants are threatened with homelessness and eligible for assistance, housing authorities must take reasonable steps to help prevent their homelessness.
The ‘prevention duty’ – places a duty on housing authorities to work with people who are threatened with homelessness within 56 days to help prevent them from becoming homelessness. The first option to be explored with the applicant should be enabling them to remain in their current home, where suitable. Where this is not possible, the focus should be on helping to secure alternative accommodation that the applicant can move into in a planned way.
The reasonable steps taken by both the authority and the applicant to help prevent homelessness should be set out in the personalised housing plan drawn up and reviewed as set out in section 189A of the Act.