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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2005): Homelessness - UK

HOMELESSNESS

Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Committee

London: TSO, 2005 (House of Commons papers, session 2004/05; HC61)

The Committee calls on the government to eradicate homelessness and to set clear and ambitious targets to achieve this aim. Finds that despite the Homelessness Act 2002, many local authorities are still not taking a strategic approach to the problem. Expresses concern about the number of people in temporary accommodation and urges the government to address the issue. Increasing the stock of social housing is essential if use of temporary accommodation is to be reduced. Report welcomes the extension of priority needs categories, but expresses concern that tests for applicants' vulnerability and possible intentional homelessness are not being fairly or consistently applied.

MORE THAN A ROOF: PROGRESS IN TACKLING HOMELESSNESS

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2005 (House of Commons papers, session 2004/05; HC286)

Since March 2002, when a formal target was set, the number of families with children in bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation has fallen by 80%, and the number residing there for more than six weeks has fallen by 96%. As B&B hotels are expensive, report recommends that local authorities should build on this experience and move other homeless people out into other forms of temporary accommodation. Government should also issue guidance on minimum standards for temporary accommodation. The recorded numbers of rough sleepers has fallen by over 70% since 1998. However, more information is needed about "move-on" arrangements for ex-rough sleepers. The requirement for local authorities to have a homelessness strategy has raised the priority given to homelessness services and improved liaison between local authorities, the voluntary sector and other agencies.

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