Headlines: November 11th, 1998

A pilot project using a joined-up approach to rough sleeping has been praised by the Housing Minister Hilary Armstrong.She said that local authorities, voluntary organisations and other bodies in Sheffield and other cities, working together with the Government, had already achieved a dramatic reduction in the number of people sleeping rough on the streets.

A recent street count in Sheffield showed that the number of people on the streets on any one night had fallen from 11 to one. Other areas were also starting to show significant reductions.

Speaking at a homelessness conference in London the Minister said: “This is great news, but we must not rest on our laurels. Everyone needs to keep up the hard work. In particular, as the Social Exclusion Unit report said, we have to do all we can to ensure that people do not end up on the streets in the first place.

“To achieve this, we are equally determined that the new Homelessness Action Programme (HAP) should continue to build on the past successes of the Rough Sleepers Initiative.”

Under the programme, voluntary organisations outside London will get 34 million pounds over three years from next April to help tackle and prevent rough sleeping. For the first time, local authorities will be involved in assessing bids.