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GOVERNMENT GIVES MORE MONEY TO TACKLE HOMELESSNESS

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More than half a million pounds of extra cash will go towards helping ...
More than half a million pounds of extra cash will go towards helping

mentally ill homeless people living outside London this winter,

announced health minister John Hutton.

Local authorities, in areas with a high number of rough sleepers,

will be consulted to make sure that the extra£507,000 funding, part

of the Homeless Mentally Ill Initiative (HMII), ties in with the

overall local strategy for providing services for the homeless. This

is in addition to the£1m already being spent on HMII projects

outside central London.

Mr Hutton said:

'Meeting the needs of mentally ill people who are also homeless is a

tough problem, but one which we are determined to tackle.

'This extra funding will help towards carrying on the good work

already being done in this area - providing services for this group

often involves investing in high levels of care. The key towards

building an effective policy of supporting and reducing the numbers

of rough sleepers numbers, is better integration and closer

co-operation between Government departments, between health and

social services and between local agencies.

Housing minister Hilary Armstrong, who chairs the ministerial

committee on tackling rough sleeping, said:

'I am delighted to see this increased funding to help rough sleepers

with mental health needs. As the Social Exclusion Unit's report on

rough sleeping made clear, up to 50% of people sleeping rough have

these very special needs. Today's announcement demonstrates the

government's commitment to joined up solutions and I look forward to

working with the department of health.

'We will also be liaising closely with local authorities outside

London to ensure our homelessness programmes work with their

strategies for tackling rough sleeping and preventing single

homelessness. We hope to make announcements about funding under the

Homelessness Action Programme and Homeless Mentally Ill Initiative

early in the New Year.'

NOTES

1. The Homeless Mentally Ill Initiative was announced in July 1990 in

response to concerns about the visible concentration of homeless and

mentally ill people on the streets of central London. More than£35m has been invested in this initiative so far.

2. In 1996 the initiative was expanded to include areas outside

central London. In Bristol a funding of£300,000 for a number of

projects was agreed, including 18 new high and medium care hostel

places. A further£700,000 has been allocated for bed spaces and

specialist staff in west London and Brighton, and specialist staff in

Bath, Bournemouth, Cambridge, Ealing, Exeter, Leicester, Manchester,

Nottingham and Oxford.

3. The Social Exclusion Unit's report on rough sleeping, which was

launched in July, recommended there should be a new co-ordinating

body for London to bring together existing Whitehall initiatives,

including the HMII, aimed at tackling rough sleeping. This new body

will be led by DETR; and DETR takes the lead with other departments

for rough sleepers and HMII outside London.

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