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Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the likely change in the numbers of people becoming homeless in the next 12 months; what plans her Department has put in place to cope with that change; and if she will make a statement. (258035)

We allocated over £200 million to local authorities and the voluntary sector between 2008-09 to 2010-11 to tackle homelessness effectively. The latest statutory homelessness statistics were published on 11 December 2008, and include statistics up to the July to September quarter. This showed that local authority housing 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 over the next two years. This scheme is now operational.

Alongside this, the new Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme, which was announced in the Queens 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 a proportion of the deferred interest payments in case the borrower defaults.