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Two housing charities yesterday said the introductory period for the new deal for the unemployed must be lengthened...
Two housing charities yesterday said the introductory period for the new deal for the unemployed must be lengthened and housing benefit rules must be changed if the jobs and training guarantee for young people is to work.

The Financial Times (p18) reports that while the new deal was working for some people aged between 18 and 24, 'four months pre-training just isn't enough for many homeless young people who have taken 18 years of problems at school, at home and in care care to reach the stage they are in, ' according to Carolyn Clark, director of services and development at Crisis, the housing charity.

Speaking at a seminar where Hilary Armstrong, the local government minister, acknowledged that the programme would need 'continuous improvement', Ms Clark said lack of detailed monitoring of the New Deal by government made it almost impossible to judge its success among the more vulnerable.

Cathy Havell, a research manager at the charity Centrepoint, said the number of homeless young people taking part five months after the New Deal went national 'is lower than we thought it would be'.

Housing benefit rules that placed heavy restrictions on the type of accommodation young people could obtain if they found a job also made it difficult for them to be better off in work than in a supported hostel, she said.

The charities are pressing for housing benefit to continue at the old level for six months once people find jobs.

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