The following table sets out the number of households who were found to be eligible for assistance, homeless and not in priority need by Reading borough council in each year since 1997.
Number 1997-98 106 1998-99 110 1999-2000 78 2000-01 137 2001-02 114 2002-03 69 2003-04 84 2004-05 53 2005-06 41
Information on English local authorities' activities under homelessness legislation is collected on quarterly P1(E) housing returns from local authorities and relates to households. This covers all decisions made in respect of homelessness applications to the authority and includes those which were found to be eligible, unintentionally homeless, but not in priority need. These households are not owed a main homelessness duty by the local authority.
We are investing over £700,000 from our Hostels Capital Improvement Programme in Reading. This money is providing supported housing for six to eight rough sleepers with drug and alcohol issues and a new 40-bed hostel for young people.
In addition, Reading have received £250,000 non-ringfenced homelessness grant from DCLG in 2006-07.
In 2003 every local authority was required to put in place a homelessness strategy to prevent homelessness and provide accommodation and support. It is for local authorities to decide how to use their homelessness grant to effectively deliver their strategies.
The methodology and guidance for conducting street counts was developed by the former Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions in partnership with Shelter. Independent evaluation by the National Audit Office has shown that it is the most effective method for evaluating the changing levels of people sleeping rough.
We will be writing to local authorities reminding them that they should have severe weather emergency provision plans in place for any rough sleepers.
Usually, the trigger for severe weather provision will be a forecast predicting three consecutive nights, or more, of a minimum temperature of zero degrees Celsius or lower.
It is up to local authorities how they make this provision.
The number of rough sleepers in Reading in each year since 2001 is set out in the following table. The numbers represent rough sleepers identified by single night street counts conducted by the local authority as reported on the annual Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA) return.
Number 2001 18 2002 7 2003 4 2004 6 2005 11 2006 2