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No One Turned Away and the Homelessness Reduction Act

1977: The Housing (Homeless Persons) Act

This radical piece of legislation gave homeless people in England the right to help from their local council for the first time. But only if the were thought to be a ‘priority’. This was mostly families with children. For years this meant that many people without children were turned away by councils. Some have had to sleep rough.

October 2014: No One Turned Away re-launches

The campaign re-launched with a new petition and the publication of some innovative ‘mystery shopping’ research, ‘Turned Away,’ which powerfully demonstrated the impact of the law on single homeless people. Later, one of the mystery shoppers was asked to once again test the response of local councils, this time wearing a hidden camera.

 

December 2014: Nations Apart research published

This report provided the first ever profile of single homeless people across England, Wales and Scotland. Drawing on interviews with nearly 500 homeless people across 16 local authorities, it shows the reasons people first become homeless and asks what lessons can be learnt from the approaches taken by the different countries.

March 2015: 45,000 strong petition handed in

May 2015: Conservatives win the General Election

With no sign of the legislation being reviewed by the new government, we took matters into our own hands by setting up an independent expert panel to look at how the law needed to change.

October 2015: Homelessness Prevention Grant

After it became clear the government wanted to scrap the vital homelessness prevention grant, we asked our No One Turned Away supporters to take action to save it.

December 2015: Double win!

Government announced the Homelessness Prevention Grant would not be scrapped and said it was "considering options including legislation" to see how they stop homeless people being turned away.

May 2016: The Queen's Speech

The Queen's Speech contains no mention of homelessness, so we turn our attention to securing a Private Member's Bill - the first step is seeing who is picked in a ballot.

October 2016: Mass Lobby

Hundreds of campaigners, many with lived experience of homelessness, descend on Parliament to tell their MPs to attend the second reading debate and support the Bill. 

October 2016: Bill passes it's second reading!

The odds are against a Private Members Bill becoming law, but our campaigners made sure it did...

February 2017: Bill passes a crucial vote in Lords

April 2018: Act comes into force

On the day after the Easter weekend the Homelessness Reduction Act comes into force bringing for the first time a duty to prevent homelessness before it happens or quickly relieve it for all homeless people, regardless of intentionality or priority need.

Read our summary on the Act (PDF)

Read our summary on the Act for clients (PDF)

2011: The first No One Turned Away campaign

Our campaign to change the homelessness legislation first launched back in 2011. After 11,000 people signed our petition and over 100 MPs signed a parliamentary motion calling for change, the government recognised there was a problem and announced £20 million of funding to tackle single homelessness. The law, however, remained the same.

November 2014: Ed Sheeran backs the campaign

Stephen Fry, Sir Ian McKellan and a host of other celebrities also backed the campaign.

 

July 2015: At What Cost? research publishes

This research showed the true cost of homelessness, for both individuals and the state

April 2016: Expert Panel report

The independent expert panel convened by Crisis publishes its review of the homelessness legislation. The panel's expertise and breadth – including representatives from other homelessness organisations and potential opponents, such as councils – built and demonstrated wide-ranging support for reform and made sure that appropriate legislation was developed.

But would government listen? We were hoping the upcoming Queen's Speech would include a commitment to change the law.

 

 

June 2016: Bob Blackman MP

Bob Blackman MP decides to use his Private Members Bill to change the homelessness legisaltion.

August 2016: Back the Bill

No One Turned Away became a coalition campaign and rebranded as ‘Back the Bill’, as 15 charity Chief Execs signed an open letter backing the Bill. This came the week after a committee of MPs published the final report from its wide ranging inquiry into homelessness and fully endorsed Bob Blackman's 'Homelessness Reduction Bill'. 

October 2016: Government backs the Bill

In the week of the crucial second reading debate, the Government announces it supports the Bill, but won't give it extra Parliamentary time. Unless enough MPs turn up to support it, the Bill could still be lost!

December 2016: Christmas and loneliness

As we published research showing the isolation and loneliness many homeless people face, volunteers and Guests at Crisis at Christmas 2016 signed an open letter to MPs and took hundreds of targeted social media actions.

 

April 2017: The Homelessness Reduction Act