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

B&B BLUNDER

S. Povey

Roof, May/June 2004, p.29

In some areas there is an acute shortage of temporary accommodation for homeless families. Government has now outlawed use of bed and breakfast hotels as temporary housing for families for more than six weeks. There is a danger that councils will seek to meet government targets by avoiding accepting families as statutorily homeless.

FOBBED OFF?

E. Hawkey

Roof, May/June 2004, p.20-23

There is anecdotal evidence that councils are discouraging people from applying for assistance as homeless and fobbing them off with unsuitable alternative housing options. The motivation appears to be cost containment and avoidance of the burden of trying to find people temporary accommodation. If also enables councils to meet the government's target for reducing use of bed and breakfast hotels.

A GOOD BUY

P. O'Kane

Roof, May/June 2004, p.34-35

The article argues that local authorities should purchase houses and flats on the open market to accommodate homeless families instead of leasing them from private landlords. This would permanently boost the supply of social housing as well as saving public money.

HOUSING THE HOMELESS

Committee of Public Accounts

London: TSO, 2004 (House of Commons papers, session 2003/04; HC559)

Examines the performance of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) in accommodating homeless people. Covers the extent of homelessness in Northern Ireland, the quality and cost of temporary accommodation provided, the extent to which homeless applicants' needs are met and NIHE's performance in minimising length of stay in temporary housing.

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