Headlines: June 21st, 2006

Community and voluntary groups working in partnership with local authorities are to share three million pounds for projects to tackle homelessness among ethnic minority groups. The money is going to councils and other bodies that were successful in bids to the Ethnic Minorities Innovation Fund.The money will help support the delivery of innovative projects that aim to cut levels of homelessness. The successful projects range from helping victims of domestic violence to supporting 11 to 25 year olds to gain the sort of life skills that will help them to avoid homelessness in the future.

Figures show that members of ethnic minority households face a disproportionate risk of being homeless at some stage. They represented 21 per cent of households accepted as homeless by local authorities in 2004-05 even though they account for only eight per cent of the country’s population.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Ruth Kelly, said, “We know that ethnic minority households are at disproportionate risk of social exclusion, and in the case of homelessness this is no exception as ethnic minorities are around three times as likely to become homeless compared to the rest of the population.”

More needed to be done, she said, to tackle the problem. Only last week the Department had announced a further reduction in new cases of homelessness but it was important to make sure the reductions were sustained across all communities, she said, adding, “Ultimately however we need to build more houses so that people have access to a settled home.”

The Ethnic Minorities Innovation Fund will provide grants this year and next as an additional strand to the Homelessness Innovation Fund, supporting the development of new ideas to prevent and reduce homelessness.