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Volume 684: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

My right honourable friend the Minister for Housing and Planning has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today we have published a revised edition of the Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities. The revised code is issued jointly by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Secretaries of State for Health and for Education and Skills, and will replace the current guidance (issued in July 2002) with effect from 4 September.

The code provides clear statutory guidance on how local authorities should carry out their homelessness functions and will assist authorities in providing appropriate and effective responses to homelessness and potential homelessness. It also complements other forms of advice, guidance and best practice which have been produced to help local authorities strengthen the services they provide to help people avoid homelessness, wherever possible.

The revised code strengthens the guidance on dealing with vulnerable groups, including people fleeing violence and families with children. It also includes stronger guidance on preventing homelessness, on providing a wide range of housing options, and limiting the use of bed-and-breakfast accommodation.

Copies of the revised Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities are being made available in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies will also be available free of charge from the Department for Communities and Local Government and the guidance can be accessed through the department's website at