Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Labour, Chorley

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

(1) how much was given to local authorities for tackling homelessness in each of the last five years;

(2) what steps are being taken against local authorities who fail to meet departmental targets on reducing (a) homelessness and (b) the number of families residing in bed-and-breakfast accommodation;

(3) how many rough sleepers there were in Chorley borough in the latest period for which figures are available;

(4) how much was allocated to Chorley borough council for tackling homelessness in each of the last five years; and how that funding has been spent.

Photo of Iain Wright Iain Wright Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government)

Revenue funding for local authority homelessness services is principally provided through revenue support grant which is unhypothecated. The Government additionally provide "homelessness grants" to support local housing authorities' strategies for tackling and preventing homelessness, including rough sleeping. Homelessness grants are also paid to support voluntary sector organisations tackling homelessness.

The following table shows total allocations of homelessness grant, and allocations to Chorley borough council for each of the five years from 2003-04 to 2007-08.

Homelessness grant for local authorities and voluntary sector (£m) Homelessness grant for Chorley borough council (£000)
2007-08 74.0 30.0
2006-07 67.0 23.0
2005-06 59.5 23.0
2004-05 60.6 23.0
2003-04 70.9 30.8

On 5 December 2007, we announced homelessness grant funding of at least £150 million over the three years 2008-11 to continue to support local authorities and voluntary sector organisations to tackle and prevent homelessness in their area. This is the biggest ever cash injection for homelessness services.

In addition, £90 million capital funding has been made available to local authorities in 2005-08 to improve hostels and day centres used by rough sleepers, to increase skills and training and to raise aspirations. A further £70 million capital funding is being made available in 2008-11 to build on the success of improving hostels and day centres.

Chorley borough council carried out a rough sleeping count on 30 November 2007 and found no rough sleepers.

We set a target for local authorities to end the use of B&B accommodation for families with children for more than six weeks under the homelessness legislation. This target was achieved by 31 March 2004. Since 1 April 2004, the effect of the Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2003 is that local authorities are no longer able to discharge a duty to secure accommodation under the homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) by placing families with children in bed and breakfast accommodation for longer than six weeks. Authorities may be challenged by homeless households and their representatives in the courts if they fail to comply.

Local authorities are on track to meet our challenging target of halving the number of households living in temporary accommodation provided under the homelessness legislation (down to 50,500) by 2010.

In cases where local authorities may be experiencing difficulties in tackling homelessness and meeting the Government's temporary accommodation target, this Department has a team of specialist homelessness advisers available to provide support and guidance.

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