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Immigration: Housing

Volume 473: debated on Monday 17 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the impact on demand for social housing arising from the grants of leave to remain under the legacy exercise; and if she will make a statement. (177351)

In dealing specifically with families who have been allowed to remain and are no longer entitled to asylum support, where we judge an individual and their family have a right to live in Britain, our aspiration is that no one need go through the homelessness mechanism. To help make this a reality, we made a number of pledges to local authorities about the way we will work.

Work on these supported family cases was originally due to be completed by October 2007. In response to concerns expressed by local authorities that the timescales involved were too short, we agreed to extend the work on these cases until March 2008.

Following my personal review and meetings with a number of local authorities and the LGA we have supported local authorities by:

putting in place a package of assistance for local authorities, including a ‘transitional costs fund’;

improving the detail of case information available to local authorities;

encouraged our private sector providers to co-operate with the programme (principally by allowing existing properties to transfer to the private rented market);

worked closely with local authorities in an attempt to reach individual agreements;

agreed to include schemes to help prevent homelessness in the reimbursement package; this would effectively give local authorities an additional six months to find solutions for individual families.

We have worked closely with local authorities and our private sector providers to broker arrangements where families given leave to remain can stay in their existing accommodation. Where this proves impossible, we have put in place arrangements to assist them to secure an alternative private sector tenancy rather than moving them into social housing.