Headlines: March 13th, 2007



The number of new cases of homelessness is continuing to fall according to new figures, which also show the number of people who are in temporary accommodation has dipped below 90,000 for the first time in four years. In spite of the improvements the government says there are new challenges that will need new solutions.

The figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government showed a 20 per cent fall in new households becoming homeless during the final quarter of last year to 17,310. That is less than half the level reached when new cases peaked at more than 35,700 in 2003. The statistics also showed the number of households in temporary accommodation at 89,510, the first time it has been below 90,000 since 2003.

Since that time local authorities have been implementing strategies to prevent homelessness and to tackle it when it arises. Councils have been allocated 47.2 million pounds in homelessness grants for this year with a further 16 million for homelessness prevention work going to voluntary organisations. By next year the Government will have invested 300 million pounds in prevention services.

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper said the new figures meant that in spite of housing pressures real achievements were being made in tackling and preventing homelessness but she added, “We now face new challenges and need new solutions. Last week I announced how we are going to support young people who find themselves without a home. It is innovative schemes like supported lodgings that are going to help us continue to see reductions in homelessness like we’ve seen today.”