Headlines: August 31st, 2005

Local authorities in Wales are getting almost a million pounds from the Welsh Assembly Government to help them prevent homelessness and for their work to reduce the number of homeless people housed in temporary bed and breakfast accommodation.The money has been made available under the new Homelessness Grant Programme, which is primarily designed to help councils provide appropriate temporary housing for homeless people and families. A total of 959,000 is going to 26 schemes run by 19 councils across Wales.

Authorities were invited to apply for funding under the programme in March this year and grants, limited to 30,000 pounds per scheme per year, were awarded to support the prevention of homelessness and to enable the procurement of appropriate temporary or permanent accommodation for homeless people. Half a million pounds of the total made available under the programme will go to schemes this year with the remainder for work in 2006-07.

The grants were announced by the Assembly Government’s Minister for Social Justice and Regeneration, Edwina Hart, who said she was concerned that many families and vulnerable young people were staying in bed and breakfast accommodation where often they had no cooking facilities, no access to communal areas and only limited space.

“Of course there will be emergencies where using this type of housing is unavoidable but, in general, we should be trying harder to provide more suitable accommodation for the homeless people in our care, ” the minister added. She said the grant programme should help local authorities focus their attention on improving access to suitable temporary accommodation as well as helping to prevent homelessness occurring in the first place.