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Homelessness: Economic Situation

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment her Department has made of the effects on levels of homelessness of the economic downturn; and if she will make a statement. (247886)

We allocated over £200 million to local authorities and the voluntary sector between 2008-09 to 2010-11 to tackle homelessness effectively. This is the biggest ever cash injection for homelessness and rough sleeping services. The latest statutory homelessness statistics were published on 11 December 2008, and includes statistics up to the July to September quarter. This showed that local housing authority homelessness acceptances fell compared to the previous quarter and year, with 14,340 during the quarter, and the number of households placed in temporary accommodation has continued to fall, for the twelfth consecutive quarter, to 72,130 by the end of September.

We also recently announced a £200 million Mortgage Rescue Scheme to help vulnerable homeowners. This scheme is available to all local authorities and will aim to help up to 6,000 of the most vulnerable households avoid the trauma of repossession and possible risk of homelessness over the next two years. This scheme is now operational.

Alongside this, the new Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme, which was announced in the Queen’s Speech, will enable households that experience a significant and temporary loss of income as a result of the economic downtown to defer a proportion of interest payments on their mortgage for up to two years. The Government will guarantee the deferred interest payments in return for banks’ participation in the scheme.

We will continue to monitor developments on all of the above in the light of the economic downturn.