Duty to assess and provide housing support needs of person who are homeless or threatened with homelessness
189.Section 158 places a duty on local authorities to assess the housing support needs of, and provide support services to, persons who are homeless or threatened with homelessness by inserting new section 32B into the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987. Section 32B(1) and (2) require the local authority, if they are subject to a duty to the applicant under section 31(2) or 32(2) of the 1987 Act and have reason to believe the applicant might need housing support services, to assess whether the applicant or any person residing with them needs prescribed services.
190.Section 32B(3) requires the local authority to conduct inquiries for that purpose (which may be prescribed by Scottish Ministers) and to have regard to any prescribed matters. Section 32B(4) requires the local authority, after assessment, to ensure the provision of prescribed housing support services to any persons assessed as being in need of them.
191.Section 32B(5) gives Scottish Ministers the power to make regulations about the provision of prescribed housing support services, which may specify the period for which services are to be provided and any matters the local authority is to have regard to when ensuring the provision of services. Section 32B(6) allows for regulations made to have different provision for different purposes and in different areas. Section 32B(7) requires Scottish Ministers to consult with bodies representing local authorities, bodies representing the interests of homeless persons and other persons as they think fit, before making regulations.
192.Section 32B(9) defines housing support services as including services which provide support, assistance, advice or counselling to an individual with a view to enabling the individual to occupy accommodation as their sole or main residence.