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HOMELESS TO BENEFIT FROM MORE INTEGRATED APPROACH TO RESETTLEMENT FUNDING

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Single homeless people will benefit from new measures to ensure improved services and funding arrangements announce...
Single homeless people will benefit from new measures to ensure improved services and funding arrangements announced by social security minister Angela Eagle today.

Responsibility for resettlement funding in England will be transferred from the Department of Social Security to the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions from April 2000. The Housing Corporation will be integral to the administration of the funding.

The change will ensure a more integrated approach to the administration of funding across the country. The move follows recommendations from the government's Social Exclusion Unit and consultation with voluntary organisations and other bodies concerned with homelessness.

Ms. Eagle said:

'The government is committed to achieving better integrated funding and better service for homeless people. We are also committed to reducing the numbers of rough sleepers by two-thirds by 2002. The new arrangements will help us to move towards this.

' It will also mean that organisations currently receiving funding from the DSS will continue to receive appropriate funding.'

Responsibility for resettlement funding for England - except London - will be transferred from the DSS to the DETR from April 2000. Funding for voluntary organisations will be administered by the Housing Corporation on behalf of the DETR. Local authority hostel funding will be administered by the Rough Sleepers Unit within the DETR.

The resettlement funding for London has already been transferred from the DSS to the new Rough Sleepers Unit in the DETR. From April 2000 the Housing Corporation will administer this funding on behalf of the DETR.

The Housing Corporation already operates similar arrangements across England.

The Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly will have full responsibility for resettlement funding and its administration by April 2000.

Notes

1. The DSS resettlement funding programme (total budget over£18 million for 1999-2000 supports over 4,200 bed spaces provided by over 100 organisations managing some 260 projects for single homeless people in England, Scotland and Wales.

* Section 30 of the Jobseekers Act 1995 enables discretionary grants to be made to providers of temporary supported accommodation with an active resettlement programme for single homeless people mainly voluntary organisations but also registered social landlords and nine local authorities.

* The scheme provides capital grants to build new hostels or to refurbish existing buildings from a capital budget of£5.004 million and revenue grants to enable projects to operate on a break-even from a revenue budget of£13.257 million.

2. The Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) produced a report on rough sleeping in July 1999 which made a number of recommendations based on the following principles:

- A joined-up approach toward policy and operations on rough sleeping across Whitehall.

- Better preventative measures.

- Co-ordinated local services.

- Identifying what works in getting people off the streets and into appropriate accommodation.

- Focusing services on developing life skills and improved access to training and education.

- Better information on the effectiveness of intervention to help rough sleepers.

- Ensuring rough sleepers have access to public services.

- Involving business, the voluntary sector and individuals to solve the problem.

* The underlying aim is to address the problem of rough sleeping and homelessness in general through a joined up approach across Whitehall.

3. DETR has been given responsibility for co-ordinating the overall strategy on rough sleeping in England. DETR set up the Rough Sleepers Unit (RSU) on 1 April 1999. The RSU s remit was originally to develop a strategy and co-ordinate the various funding streams in London targeted at the homeless with the aim of reducing the number of people sleeping rough on the streets of the Capital by two thirds by 2002. The unit's role has now been expanded to develop and co-ordinate a policy to prevent rough sleeping throughout England.

* The RSU has an integrated budget of $145 million for London over three years. A further $34 million has been allocated for the rest of England over the same period as part of the DETR s Homelessness Action Programme (HAP). To complement HAP the Department of Health has announced a programme of grants under the Homeless Mentally Ill Initiative (HMII) and Drug and Alcohol Specific Grants (DASG).

* On the recommendation of the SEU, Section 30 funding for London has already transferred to the RSU. In the rest of England DSS has consulted with interested parties and organisations in the voluntary sector on proposals for a more integrated funding arrangement, in line with the Government's objectives for improving services to the homeless and reducing the numbers of rough sleepers. Taking account of the responses to the consultation exercise, it has been decided to transfer resettlement funding for England to the DETR from 1 April 2000, to be administered on their behalf by the Housing Corporation (HC). The HC will also administer the Section 30 funding for London on behalf of the RSU. Section 30 funding will be integrated into the HC s Supported Housing Management Grant (SHMG). This will simplify the funding streams and reduce bureaucracy for funded organisations.

* Section 30 funding and SHMG, are broadly comparable funding regimes with similar aims; i.e. to support organisations that provide supported accommodation to vulnerable people. The transfer of Section 30 funding to the HC represents a first step in the migration to Supporting People.

4. In line with the wider devolution of power to the Scottish Parliament (SP) and the Welsh National Assembly (WNA) it is appropriate for Section 30 funding in those countries to transfer to those bodies. Both the SP and WNA will have responsibility for housing within their jurisdictions and the transfer will allow them to develop coherent and co-ordinated housing policies.

* Responsibility for administrating Section 30 grants in Scotland transferred to the Scottish Parliament on 1 July 1999 under the Scotland Act 1999. DSS have agreed to manage the resettlement programme in Scotland until 1 April 2000 under an agency agreement with the Scottish Parliament.

* In Wales the function of administrating Section 30 grants did not automatically transfer to the Welsh National Assembly. However, the Welsh National Assembly will have responsibility for addressing housing issues in Wales and therefore Section 30 funding for Wales will transfer to the Assembly, also on 1 April 2000. This will be achieved by means of a Transfer of Function Order.

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