Homeless ‘in limbo’ under housing plan

    Charities fear government plans to halve the number of people in
    temporary accommodation may be undermined by its drive to widen
    home ownership.

    They warned that Homes for All, the government’s five-year housing
    plan published this week, may shrink the supply of social housing,
    leaving homeless people trapped in temporary accommodation.

    This is despite the plan’s target to halve the number of people in
    temporary accommodation by 2010.

    Shelter director Adam Sampson said: “The government’s pledge to cut
    the number of homeless people trapped in emergency accommodation is
    a positive and long-awaited move.

    “But, in the long-term, only a significant and sustained investment
    in increasing social house building will provide enough homes for
    those who desperately need them.”

    Though proposals to extend the right-to-buy to all housing
    association tenants have been shelved, the government will allow
    them to purchase a discounted share of between 50 per cent and 75
    per cent of their home.

    Homeless Link said the fact that social landlords would have a
    right of first refusal should people decide to sell their stake was
    no guarantee that the social housing stock would not shrink.

    The government has pledged to increase social house building by 50
    per cent, but this would see only 10,000 homes a year built
    until 2008.

    Alan Coombe, principal policy officer at Barnardo’s, said: “Selling
    off any of the little social housing that remains does nothing to
    help, and much to hinder, the most vulnerable children and
    families.”

    • Strategy from www.odpm.gov.uk

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