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£60M TO TACKLE HOMELESSNESS IN ENGLAND

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Local authorities and voluntary organisations across the country will ...
Local authorities and voluntary organisations across the country will

receive a share of £60m in 2004/05 to support them in tackling

homelessness more effectively, homelessness minister Jeff Rooker

announced today.

Councils throughout England will receive around £45m from the ODPM,

to support the continued implementation of their homelessness

strategies.

Voluntary organisations funded directly by ODPM will also benefit,

receiving around £15m to support their work with homeless people.

Speaking at the Association of London Government's homelessness

conference today, Jeff Rooker said: 'This funding is good news for

local authorities and the voluntary sector and demonstrates our

continued commitment to tackling and preventing homelessness. The

additional resources will support local authorities in delivering

their homelessness strategies which they had to publish for the first

time this year.

'The funding will also help to ensure that local authorities do not

use bed and breakfast hotels for homeless families with children and

will sustain achievements in reducing levels of rough sleeping.'

Latest homelessness statistics published today show that the number

of homeless families with children living in B&B accommodation for

more than six weeks has continued to fall and in September was 1,590

compared with 1,980 in June.

The figures, which cover July to September 2003, also show that the

total number of families with children in B&B accommodation at the

end of September was 3,190 - a fall of 14 per cent since June.

Jeff Rooker continued: 'As expected, the latest statistics show that

we are tackling two of the worst manifestations of homelessness

effectively - we are on target to ensure that no homeless family with

children has to live in B&B, and we are successfully sustaining the

rough sleeping target, which was met two years ago.

'However, as we predicted, overall levels of homelessness are

increasing. Local authorities' homelessness reviews and strategies

help to explain at a local level the reasons for the increases and

their plans for addressing them.

'Local authorities now need to ensure that they deliver these plans

efficiently and effectively and the money I am announcing today

supports them in this work.'

Twenty-one of London's 33 boroughs have ended, or are close to

ending, the use of B&B for families with children. Nearly 80 per cent

of local authorities across the country have met, or are very close

to meeting, the April 2004 target early.

Welcoming the local government funding, Tony Newman, chair of housing

for the Association of London Government, said: 'London boroughs have

reduced the number of families with children in B&B for more than six

weeks by 73 per cent in the last year.

'The funding announced today will go towards helping boroughs make

the use of B&Bs a thing of the past.

'There is still a lot to be done to reduce the reliance of B&B, and

to tackle the rising numbers living in other forms of temporary

accommodation.'

Notes

1. London councils have taken innovative approaches to tackling

homelessness, increasing the supply of affordable homes and reducing

the use of B&B accommodation. Case studies are available here.

2. The Government is committed to helping local authorities ensure

that by March 2004 no homeless families with children will be in B&B

other than in an emergency, and even then for no more than six weeks.

'More than a roof', outlines the Government's approach to preventing

and tackling homelessness which can be found here.

3. The ODPM is also today publishing a policy briefing on the causes

and prevention of repeat homelessness. This can be found here.

4. Latest statistics relating to homelessness in England indicate

that as of September 2003, 93,930 households were in accommodation

arranged by local authorities. This is an increase of 10 per cent on

the previous year. Included in this figure are 3,190 families with

children living in B&B hotels. This can be found here.

5. The 'Reducing B&B use and tackling homelessness' handbook outlines

measures that local authorities have highlighted as successful in

reducing B&B use for families with children. This can be found here.

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