Photo of Lord German

Lord German (Liberal Democrat)

To ask Her Majesty's Government to what extent homelessness statistics take account of homeless people who squat, rough sleep and stay nights with friends and family.

Photo of Baroness Hanham

Baroness Hanham (Conservative)

The Government have introduced a new more accurate way of evaluating rough sleeping levels. Previously only local authorities where there was a known, or suspected, rough sleeping problem were required to provide a count. All areas across England now provide counts or robust estimates giving a clear national picture. Latest statistics show 1,768 rough sleepers in England on any one night and are published at the following link. These figures are not directly comparable to previously published statistics on rough sleeping.

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/xls/ 1845849.xls.

This Government are committed to tackling rough sleeping. We have maintained the level of homelessness grant, with £400 million being made available to local authorities and the voluntary sector over the next four years to help them reduce rough sleeping and prevent homelessness. A cross-departmental ministerial working group on homelessness has also been set up to address the complex causes of homelessness and improve support for homeless people.

Information about the number of people who stay nights with friends and family because they have no accommodation is not collected centrally.

Information about English local housing authorities' statutory actions under the homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected quarterly at local authority level. Data collected include the number of households accepted by local housing authorities as being eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to ensure that suitable accommodation is available). Data are published in the quarterly statistical release on statutory homelessness, available in the House of Commons Library or via the DCLG website:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/homelessnessstatistics/publicationshomelessness/

Information collected on reasons for loss of last settled home, including relative or friends being no longer able or willing to provide accommodation, is published in table 5 of the following link:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/xls/1861737.xls.

Under the Homelessness Act 2002, local housing authorities must have a strategy for preventing homelessness in their district. The strategy must apply to everyone at risk of homelessness, not just people who may fall within a priority need group for the purposes of Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996. Figures showing local authorities' prevention activities can be found at the following link:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/homelessnessstatistics/homelessnesspreventionrelief/

Notes and definitions for the homelessness data the department collect can be found at the following link:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/homelessnessstatistics/notesdefinitions/.

Information about the number of people who squat is not collected centrally.

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