Thursday, 10 September 2009

Homelessness figures down 32 per cent

National statistics released today show that the number of households accepted as being owed a main homelessness duty is down 32 per cent from the same time last year.

The figures show that 10,650 households were accepted as homeless by local authorities between April to June 2009 - a 32 per cent reduction compared to the same quarter last year.

The statistics also show the largest year on year decrease in the number of households in temporary accommodation since 2004. There are now 60,230 households in temporary accommodation which is 19 per cent lower than this time last year, and down by around 40,000 since June 2004.

Homelessness Minister Ian Austin said:

"Backed by unprecedented Government investment, local authorities and their partners have made huge strides in reducing homelessness, with homelessness acceptances down by 32 per cent compared to this time last year.

"But we will not stop here, we want these sustained reductions to continue, which is why we are investing £220 million over three years in local authorities and the voluntary sector to tackle and prevent homelessness and have introduced a comprehensive range of support to help struggling homeowners avoid repossession.”

As part of the drive to further reduce homelessness, funding has also been announced for seven social entrepreneurs with bright business ideas to help tackle homelessness. Through the Communities and Local Government backed scheme, £10,000 will be allocated to market test the innovative ideas and to develop business models. These includes Candy Couture a beauty salon, Punch and Juicy a health food business and Suitcase Media which aims to provide a downloadable audio tour of London and is supported by British Telecom Global Services. The entrepreneurs are all receiving mentoring from established entrepreneurs including Nigel Kershaw at the Big Issue, The Trees Group and corporate partner PriceWaterhouseCoopers to help them develop their business plans.

Ian Austin said:

“Finding new and innovative ways of tackling homelessness is a key part of sustaining reductions in homelessness acceptances.

“The Sparklers programme is a new and exciting opportunity for homeless entrepreneurs to make their business ideas a reality and help themselves and other homeless people back into successful and independent life.”

Figures also released today, based on the results of local authority street counts, show a fall in the number of people sleeping rough with a total of 464 compared to 483 last year. A toolkit to help local authorities and the voluntary sector better tackle rough sleeping is also being published.

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