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Homelessness: Departmental Coordination

Volume 473: debated on Wednesday 12 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what policy co-ordination takes place between his Department and the Department for Communities and Local Government to ensure that the housing benefit system supports the Government's objectives on homelessness prevention. (190310)

The Department for Work and Pensions works closely with Communities and Local Government on a wide range of issues, including the impact of housing benefit (HB) policy on homelessness.

HB enables tenants to pay their rent when they are not working or are living on a low income. This helps to avoid households being evicted from their accommodation as a result of rent arrears and subsequently becoming homeless.

In November last year, the two departments signed a groundbreaking cross-departmental agreement to work together in partnership. The two departments agreed to focus on working together on a number of shared priority outcomes—to ensure full employment and reduced welfare dependency; make Britain a more equal society, promoting equality (including employment equality); reduce levels of poverty and social exclusion, particularly child poverty and poverty among older people; build strong, empowered local communities; tackle worklessness amongst social sector tenants and homeless people, and promote greater independence and well being in later life.

Prevention of homelessness has a key part to play in the achievement of these outcomes.