Minister announces new directorate

homelessness directorate is to be introduced early next year to
look at all forms of homelessness, it was announced this week.

Falconer, minister for housing, planning and regeneration, said
that the government would be taking a new approach to tackling the
wider issues of homelessness.

not giving up on any vulnerable rough sleepers still left, we must
also look at helping those who may have a roof over their heads but
are nevertheless without a home,” he said. “A new homelessness
directorate will bring together and invigorate existing work to
help homeless people, as well as develop new work to help prevent
homelessness, and investigate its underlying causes.”

Government figures suggest that the number of people sleeping rough
in England has fallen by 71 per cent during the past three years,
from 1,850 in 1998 to 532 in 2001.

government has said that there are now 264 rough sleepers in
London, two in Birmingham and six in Brighton. In 1998, the figures
were 621, 56 and 44 respectively.

Casey, head of the rough sleepers unit, said: “Our next step must
be to ensure this reduction is sustained and to understand why some
people are still sleeping rough.”

Homelessness charity the Simon Community has disputed the figures,
while Crisis has drawn attention to the high numbers of “hidden
homeless” people.

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