Section 60 - Duty to provide information, advice and assistance in accessing help
124.A local housing authority must arrange the provision of a free service for people in its area or those who have a local connection with its area. This might include, for example, people who are seeking to move to the area to be nearer work or relatives. The service must provide information and advice about homelessness and should not be restricted to what help is available in the authority’s area. It must also provide assistance with accessing any relevant help for those who are, or who may become homeless. It is not restricted to those who are threatened with homelessness within 56 days (see section 55) and must include assistance with accessing homelessness prevention services.
125.Subsection (2) requires that the service must include publication of information and advice about the help that is available for the homeless and how to access it. The authority must ensure the service is designed to meet the needs of groups who are at particular risk of becoming homeless. This includes people leaving prison or youth detention, young people leaving care, people leaving the armed forces, and people leaving hospital after inpatient treatment for a mental disorder or receiving mental health services in the community.
126.In arranging the service, an authority may work with other local housing authorities. The authority may provide the service directly. Alternatively or in addition, it might, for example, arrange for another authority or a voluntary advice agency to provide the service. The service may be combined with advice services provided under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.
127.Sections 179(2) and (3), 180 and 181 of the Housing Act 1996 provided that local housing authorities might give financial and other assistance to homelessness advice providers. These provisions have not been replicated here, since general local authority powers are now available for this.