Government urged to protect homeless people

The government must act to prevent housing associations shirking their responsibility to homeless people, according to a powerful parliamentary committee.

A report by the all-party Public Accounts Committee says some associations are reluctant to accommodate homeless people and that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister may need to clarify their responsibilities.

It suggests formal agreements between councils and association might need to be strengthened, and compliance monitored.

The report also says strategies drawn up by local authorities to tackle homelessness contain “common and fundamental weaknesses”. And the committee describes the lack of involvement of social services in drawing up many of the strategies as “surprising”, given their statutory requirement to co-operate with housing authorities.

A duty to publish a local strategy was introduced in the Homelessness Act 2002 but the committee found only two in five authorities had identified the resources needed to fund their strategy and few had specific targets to monitor progress.

While the report praises the government’s “significant alleviation” of the worst consequences of homelessness, it says efforts to prevent homelessness are being compromised by a lack of meaningful data on the needs and background of homeless people.

It calls on the ODPM to make sure temporary accommodation standards are better enforced.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Tackling homelessness from


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