Law to prevent homelessness comes into force

People sleeping rough
Image caption It is hoped the legislation will spare three out of four people classed as being at risk from losing their home

A new law has come into effect, putting a duty on local authorities to prevent homelessness.

Changes to the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, mean authorities must take "all reasonable steps" to prevent someone from losing their home within 56 days.

The Welsh government said it is "the most fundamental reform to homelessness legislation in over 30 years".

Housing charity Shelter Cymru welcomed the move. Director John Puzey said homelessness "can happen to anyone".

Launching the changes on Monday, Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister Lesley Griffiths said it is a "major major milestone".

Councils now have to use privately rented accommodation where necessary and work more closely with government and housing associations.

Local authorities have been provided with additional funding and training programmes from the Welsh government to introduce the changes.

Even those with no local connection and who do not fit any of the 'priority need' categories are entitled to help.

The most recent figures from the Welsh government showed there were 1,210 households accepted as homeless in Wales.

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