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,
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.'
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.