asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he now has the facilities available to state what is the present number of homeless families in the county of Avon; and how these figures compare with the national average for homelessness.
There are no precise figures for the number of people who are homeless. However, 93 families were in temporary accommodation in Avon because they were homeless on 30th September 1974, the latest date for which figures are available. Equivalent figures for England as a whole are not available for September, but on 30th June 1974 82 families were in temporary accommodation in Avon, and 7,020 in England. On the basis of the number of people in temporary accommodation at the end of June 1974, and the Registrar General's projected population figures for mid-1973, there were 3·75 people per 10,000 in temporary accommodation in Avon, and 6·15 people per 10,000 in England as a whole.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment which local authorities in England and Wales still place the primary responsibility for dealing with homeless families and single people on their social services department, in view of the fact that in February the Government advised the reorganised authorities to transfer this primary responsibilty to their relevant housing department after 1st April 1974.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the arrangements being made by the reorganised local authorities outside Greater London for accepting their responsibilities towards homeless families and single people, as set out in the National Assistance Act 1948 and redefined in the Joint Circular on Homelessness of 7th February 1974.
While details about individual authorities are not available, most housing authorities, both inside and outside Greater London, already have accepted or are in the process of accepting prime responsibility for the accommodation of the homeless. I propose to seek further information from authorities on this specific point.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to ensure that the new houseing returns are being used by the new housing authorities in England and Wales to register as fully as possible the extent of homelessness among single people in their areas.
My right hon. Friend and the Secretary of State for Wales have recently asked both housing and social services authorities to make a new form of return about all those, including single people, who seek help from them because they are homeless. The new system can register only those who apply for help, but it is intended, in co-operation with the local authorities, to ensure that it is as comprehensive as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps, further to his powers under Section 91 of the Housing Act 1957, to draw the attention of local authorities to the housing needs of their district and to issue guidance to housing authorities concerning the housing needs of single people, in view of the increase in homelessness among them.
My right hon. Friend is at present considering the content of further advice to local authorities and housing associations about providing more accommodation for single people, and hopes to issue such advice shortly.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will propose making provision of accommodation for the homeless a mandotory obligation on district councils.
This will be one of the possibilities covered in a forthcoming consultation paper.