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CHANGES TO HOMELESSNESS BILL AIMED AT INTENTIONALLY HOMELESS FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN

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Stephen Byers has confirmed he intends to take steps to address the situation where families with children who have...
Stephen Byers has confirmed he intends to take steps to address the situation where families with children who have become intentionally homeless are not receiving housing assistance.

A recent legal ruling raised the possibility of children being taken into care because their family became homeless. This issue was brought to Mr Byers' attention and he was determined to close this potential loophole.

Amendments to be brought forward shortly by housing minister, Lord Falconer, to the Homelessness Bill, in the house of lords, will require housing authorities to notify social services once they are clear they are dealing with a homeless family with children not eligible to be housed because they are intentionally homeless.

Where social services request the housing authority to assist them to discharge their functions under Part 3 of the Children Act 1989, in meeting the needs of the child, the housing authority will be required to co-operate. Underpinning this will be guidance for housing and social services departments about co-operative working.

Mr Byers, secretary of state for transport, local government and the regions said:

'Good co-operation between housing and social services departments is vital to meet the needs of such families. The changes we plan to bring forward to the Homelessness Bill will reinforce this.'

* also see LGCnetfor 'DEBATE ON UNACCOMPAINIED ASYLUM SEEKING CHILDREN' from the Welsh assembly.

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