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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2004): Homelessness - UK

ACHIEVING POSITIVE SHARED OUTCOMES IN HEALTH AND HOMELESSNESS

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

London: 2004

Guidance suggests five key positive outcomes that NHS bodies, voluntary organisations and local authorities might work towards in partnership:

  • improving healthcare for homeless families in temporary accommodation;
  • improving access to primary healthcare for homeless people;
  • improving substance misuse treatment for homeless people;
  • improving mental health treatment for homeless people;
  • preventing homelessness through appropriate targeted health support.

FORCED OUT

H. Bond

Young People Now, Mar.24th-30th 2004, p.18-19

Family breakdown, violence and rejection are the main reasons for young people leaving home. The Department of Health issued guidance in November 2002 requiring local authorities to provide services and safety networks for young runaways in their areas. However, a snapshot survey by the Children's Society published in December 2003 showed that fewer than a third of authorities had these systems in place. The Society is now calling for a raft of measures to help young runaways to be put in place, including emergency accommodation provision, and the establishment of mediation services for families in crisis.

HOME DISCOMFORT

N. Valios

Community Care Feb. 19th-25th 2004, p.28-30

Breakdown in family relationships can lead to teenagers presenting as homeless. The article discusses the role of mediation services in repairing relationships and that of informal, private fostering arrangements in providing a home.

NEW PRIORITY? NEW HOMES

L. Nicholson

Roof, Mar/Apr 2004, p.11

The Homelessness, etc (Scotland) Act 2003 put an end to the priority need test of eligibility for re-housing by local authorities. This could raise the number of applicants eligible for re-housing by 66%. There are concerns that there is not enough affordable housing to meet this demand.

TOP OF THE FLOPS

S. Povey

Roof, Mar./Apr. 2004, p.31

Allocation policies of some local authorities are contravening the requirements of the Homelessness Act 2002. They are:

  • refusing to allocate housing to applicants who owe any rent to the authority;
  • giving preference in allocations only to people owed a full homelessness duty under section 193;
  • refusing to allocate housing to people with no local connection;
  • in choice based letting schemes, insisting that homeless applicants lose their preference if they do not bid for an available property within a set time limit.
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