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Homelessness

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what support services are offered by her Department to help homeless people find housing; and if she will make a statement; (253405)

(2) whether the Government plan to change levels of funding for services to and support for homeless people; and if will make a statement;

(3) what steps her Department is taking to provide accommodation for homeless people.

The Government take all aspects of homelessness very seriously. We have allocated over £200 million to local authorities and voluntary organisations over the next three years (2008-11) to tackle and prevent homelessness in their area. This is the biggest ever cash injection for homelessness services.

Over recent months Government have announced a series of measures and new funding that will help homeowners remain in their home wherever possible. This help includes the £200 million Mortgage Rescue Scheme which should enable up to 6,000 of the most vulnerable households to avoid repossession; the Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme which will allow households to defer payment on their mortgage for up to two years; and substantial changes to Support for Mortgage Interest by reducing the waiting time from 39 weeks to 13 weeks, and increasing the capital limit to £200,000.

In addition, my Department has provided £2.5 million funding to the National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS) which is a partnership between Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABx) providing high quality advice on homelessness prevention through the network of participating CABx and other voluntary agencies across England. The funding will also help to strengthen NHAS responses to support those people facing repossession. This will involve training 1,000 front line advice workers in Shelter and CABx which NHAS will also roll out to local authorities.

In November 2008 we launched “No One Left Out: communities ending rough sleeping”, an action plan developed with leading rough sleeping charities which uses action, advice and assistance across England to prevent the flow of people onto the streets, as well as to support those already there to get off the streets into stability. This is supported by our “Places of Change” programme which is transforming services for rough sleepers. £80 million has been provided for the period 2008-11.

The Supporting People programme provides housing-related support to the most vulnerable in society. In December 2007 we announced a further £4.9 billion funding up to 31 March 2011

Government have also provided additional funding for advice services. Last year CLG funded 40 court desks that provide free legal representation at repossession hearings and are successful in 85 per cent. of cases where people attend court. We continue to review court desk funding.

The Department also monitors local authorities’ activities under the homelessness legislation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the consistency of provision for homeless people across England. (253408)

Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 provides one of the strongest safety nets in the world for families with children and vulnerable people who become homeless through no fault of their own. It provides a consistent, national statutory framework for the provision of homelessness assistance across England. The Secretary of State has issued guidance to which all local authorities in England must have regard to when exercising their functions relating to homelessness and the prevention of homelessness. Extensive data about local housing authorities’ activities under the relevant legislation are collected and published quarterly. These data are monitored by a team of homelessness specialist advisers, located within the Department of Communities and Local Government, who work closely with local authorities to help them tackle and prevent homelessness effectively.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the number of people who were homeless in (a) the City of Southampton, (b) the ceremonial county of Hampshire, (c) Test Valley borough and (d) England in each of the last five years. (254018)

Information about English local housing authorities’ actions under the homelessness legislation (part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected quarterly at local authority level, about households rather than individuals.

Data collected include the number of households accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to secure that suitable accommodation is available). If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority must secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available.

Information is also collected on the number of people who sleep rough. Mid-year rough sleeping estimates have been published annually since 1998, and give a snapshot of the number of people sleeping rough on a single night, based on local authority street counts in those areas where there is a known or suspected rough sleeping problem.

Summary tables showing the total number of households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty and in temporary accommodation for each year since 1997-98, and rough sleeper estimates for each year since 1998, for each local authority, were provided in the answer I gave to the hon. Member for West Suffolk (Mr. Spring) on 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1499-1500W, and are available in the Library.

An extract showing data for each local authority within the ceremonial county of Hampshire (which includes both Test Valley borough and Southampton city council), and England, is shown as follows:

Table A: Number of households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty during the year, Hampshire and England, 2003-04 to 2007-08

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Basingstoke and Deane

121

126

105

77

25

East Hampshire

208

182

89

82

35

Eastleigh

119

73

70

57

63

Fareham

169

97

110

44

31

Gosport

242

258

218

173

89

Hart

53

76

1

10

4

Havant

208

198

152

99

100

New Forest

161

75

86

91

80

Portsmouth

760

636

529

298

302

Rushmoor

159

98

25

25

24

Southampton

699

591

475

285

184

Test Valley

110

72

69

21

17

Winchester

54

37

1

35

40

England2

135,430

120,860

93,980

73,360

63,170

Table B: Number of households in temporary accommodation at end of year, Hampshire and England, March 2004 to March 2008

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Basingstoke and Deane

230

137

163

134

87

East Hampshire

185

197

165

154

125

Eastleigh

54

37

43

32

26

Fareham

142

136

115

52

41

Gosport

274

391

362

317

221

Hart

52

50

19

8

5

Havant

426

395

369

278

180

New Forest

423

423

327

264

186

Portsmouth

121

134

130

109

117

Rushmoor

51

57

27

19

14

Southampton

223

232

232

189

157

Test Valley

100

93

131

83

53

Winchester

70

51

46

39

44

England2

97,680

101,070

96,370

87,120

77,510

1 Data not reported by local authority

2 National figures include estimates of missing data.

Table C: Number of rough sleepers (persons), Hampshire and England, 2004 to 2008

Mid-year estimate, based on count, or zero if no problem is known or suspected

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Basingstoke and Deane

2

0

0

0

0

East Hampshire

0

0

0

0

0

Eastleigh

0

0

0

0

0

Fareham

0

0

0

0

0

Gosport

0

0

0

0

0

Hart

0

0

0

0

0

Havant

0

0

0

0

0

New Forest

0

0

0

0

0

Portsmouth

0

6

0

0

0

Rushmoor

0

0

0

0

0

Southampton

0

0

0

6

0

Test Valley

0

0

0

0

0

Winchester

1

0

0

0

0

England

508

459

502

498

483

Figures for acceptances and temporary accommodation at national, regional and local authority level can be found in the supplementary tables of our quarterly statistical release on Statutory Homelessness. This is published on our website and placed in the Library each quarter at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/homelessnessstatistics/publicationshomelessness/

English rough sleeper estimates, by local authority, and the count guidance are published and can be found at the following web address:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/homelessness/roughsleeping/

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much the Government has spent on organisations to help the homeless in (a) the City of Southampton, (b) the ceremonial county of Hampshire, (c) Test Valley borough and (d) England in each of the last five years. (254019)

There are two grant programmes that specifically support organisations to help the homeless. The Homelessness Grant supports all local authority homelessness strategies enabling them to tackle and prevent homelessness effectively. The Supporting People programme supports the provision of housing-related support to the most vulnerable in society.

Southampton—homelessness grant

£

Local authority

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Total

Southampton

340,000

390,000

461,000

365,000

365,000

1,921,000

Hampshire county (including Test Valley)—homelessness grant

£

Local authority

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Total

Basingstoke and Deane

40,000

40,000

65,000

86,000

31,000

262,000

East Hampshire

21,000

21,000

56,000

66,000

56,000

220,000

Eastleigh

31,000

31,000

31,000

31,000

31,000

155,000

Fareham

40,000

40,000

40,000

55,000

40,000

215,000

Gosport

46,000

46,000

66,000

46,000

46,000

250,000

Hart

50,000

50,000

50,000

50,000

50,000

250,000

Havant

56,000

56,000

86,000

71,000

71,000

340,000

New Forest

27,000

27,000

57,000

37,000

55,000

203,000

Rushmoor

40,000

40,000

40,000

40,000

40,000

200,000

Test Valley

22,000

22,000

42,000

42,000

42,000

170,000

Winchester

20,000

20,000

20,000

30,000

30,000

120,000

Total

393,000

393,000

553,000

554,000

492,000

2,385,000

England—Homelessness Grant

£

2004-05

200-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Total

England (LAS only)

45,390,000

44,719,000

49,541,000

52,869,000

51,641,000

244,160,000

England (Voluntary Orgs)

14,800,000

15,000,000

18,000,000

19,500,000

17,232,000

84,532,000

Supporting People programme data is not available at a district level. The Southampton spend is for the county. Supporting People programme funding cannot be broken down prior to 2005-06 to show which funding went to which groups.

£

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Southampton

3,964,585

3,409,052

3,009,881

Hampshire

3,867,948

3,617,572

3,629,983

England

635,006,022

299,831,816

287,878,780