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Rough Sleepers

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 18 June 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress he has made in assisting local authorities to reduce the number of rough sleepers. [119458]

As of June 2002, local authority statistics show that 600 people were sleeping rough on any one night. This figure sustained the Prime Minister's target to reduce rough sleeping by at least two-thirds from a baseline figure of 1,850 in June 1998.The Homelessness Directorate within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister brings together the work of the former Rough Sleepers Unit, the Bed and Breakfast Unit and a team to ensure the effective implementation of the Homelessness Act 2002 and assist local authorities in the development of strategies to tackle homelessness.The Homelessness Directorate has a revenue budget this year of £70 million and is providing grant support to local authorities to help them implement homelessness strategies and where necessary bed and breakfast action plans and rough sleeping strategies. To ensure the two-thirds reduction is sustained, key local authorities have been asked to draw up strategies for their areas for the period up to 31 March 2004 in consultation with local voluntary agencies and other partner organisations.

The Homelessness Directorate is continuing to work closely with local authorities, particularly where rough sleeping remains at a significant level.