Hostel stays ‘too long’

Homeless people have been waiting far longer for resettlement
since the community care changes were introduced in 1993, according
to a survey by the London-based charity St Mungo’s.

The average wait for a resident at one of the agency’s hostels
for a project offering specialist care is about 130 days. This
compares with between a few days and a few weeks under the old
system, when social security automatically paid for a place in a
residential project.

Under the new system, local authorities must assess everyone
individually, but this can be time-consuming, St Mungo’s said.
Cases can take up to eight months.

The agency blamed ‘red tape’ in some councils. ‘Some local
authorities are good at assessing and funding sick homeless people
quickly, but several are very slow, so it is more complex than just
a lack of funding,’ said Charles Fraser, director of St

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