ODPM tells councils to curb increasing homelessness

Homelessness is on the rise and councils need to take preventative
action, the Office of Deputy Prime Minister has warned,
writes Shirley Kumar.

Andy Gale, specialist advisor at the homelessness and housing
support directorate, told delegates at the Chartered Institute of
Housing annual conference to “stop hiding behind a lack of
affordable housing”.

The number of homeless households accepted for re-housing by local
authorities in the first three months of 2004 fell by 1 per cent
compared with the same period in 2003.

Although the number of households in bed and breakfast
accommodation has fallen 41 per cent since March 2003 –
largely thanks to the introduction in April of new rules around
placing families in B&Bs – the number of people in hostel
accommodation including has risen 8 per cent since March

Gale said councils should seek to tackle the three key areas that
make up between 70 and 80 per cent of homelessness: evictions for
late rent payment, domestic violence, and relatives or friends no
longer willing to accommodate. He said councils should provide rent
deposit schemes, offer mediation services within seven days, and
work in partnership to minimise the impact of domestic

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