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Volume 501: debated on Thursday 26 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps are being taken to reduce levels of homelessness in each region. (301704)

We have allocated over £200 million to local authorities and voluntary organisations over three years (2008-11) to reduce and prevent homelessness in their areas by offering tailored support and advice. In addition, the department also recently announced a £20 million Preventing Repossessions Fund to enable local authorities to extend small loans to families at risk of homelessness through repossession or eviction. We have also 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.

Over recent months the Government have also announced a series of measures and new funding that will help homeowners remain in their home wherever possible. This help includes the £285 million Mortgage Rescue Scheme, the Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme and substantial changes to Support for Mortgage Interest Scheme.

New cases of homelessness acceptances have reduced by 69 per cent. since the last peak in 2003. The latest statistics show that there were 10,520 homelessness acceptances during the period April to June 2009—32 per cent. lower than the same period last year. The proportion of homelessness acceptances due to mortgage repossessions has remained at 3 per cent.