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Homelessness

Volume 173: debated on Tuesday 5 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will reconsider his decision to withdraw funding from National Debtline, in the light of rising mortgage defaulters.

This year we have trebled the funds available under section 73 of the Housing Act 1985 to £2 million. Half will go to a new homelessness advice service involving CABs, SHAC and Shelter. A key aim of this service is to prevent homelessness cases from occurring through timely and accurate general advice on debt and financial planning. The remaining £1 million goes to a total of 27 bodies providing direct assistance and practical help to single homeless people and rough sleepers. I have received a number of representations on behalf of National Debtline, the Birmingham Settlement's Housing Debtline, but I will not raise hopes of further funding this year: all the funds are earmarked.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the reasons why his Department discontinued a section 73 grant to Homes for Homeless People.

This year £2 million has been allocated to voluntary bodies concerned with homelessness—three times last year's total. Half will go to a new national homelessness advice service based on citizens' advice bureaux and involving Shelter and SHAC, and half to a total of 27 bodies providing direct assistance and practical help to single homeless people and rough sleepers. Priority in choosing successful applications has been given to projects which will either take single homeless people off the streets or work directly with young people, persuading them not to leave home and/or come to London.