asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the document Sustainable Communities: Settled Homes; Changing Lives–A Strategy for Tackling Homelessness, published in March 2005, still represents their policy on homelessness; and [HL4699]
Whether they will reconsider the target to halve the number of people in temporary accommodation between 31 December 2004 and 2010 in the light of current economic circumstances and changing conditions in the housing market; and, if not, why not; and [HL4700]
Whether local authorities which had few households living in temporary accommodation on 31 December 2004 should be excluded from the target for each local authority to halve the number in such accommodation by 2010. [HL4701]
Sustainable Communities: Settled Homes; Changing Lives—A Strategy for Tackling Homelessness continues to represent our policy for tackling and preventing homelessness, which includes the target to halve the number of households in temporary accommodation to 50,500 by 2010.
Meeting the 2010 temporary accommodation target is a national target and therefore it is essential that all local authorities contribute to the achievement of a 5 per cent reduction in temporary accommodation use. We see this target, and effective implementation of the measures needed to achieve it, as milestones on a route towards a longer-term minimum level of homelessness and temporary accommodation use in every area.
We have responded to the current economic circumstances by providing £340,000 to fund an additional 34 court desks to ensure legal representation on the day for lender and landlord repossessions.
We are conscious that the number of households in temporary accommodation will vary significantly from one area to another. Our main focus is on those authorities with the highest numbers in temporary accommodation. We are taking a proportionate approach to working with authorities with low numbers in temporary accommodation.
To date, around one-third of local authorities have already met the 2010 target, and local authority temporary accommodation reduction plans indicate that the target will be met.