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
    2003.

    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
    violence.

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