Latest Public Sector News

17.08.12

DCLG announces joint approach to homelessness

A joint approach would improve the way services are managed to reduce homelessness, a new report suggests.

The Government has published a report detailing its commitments to prevent and reduce homelessness, ‘Making every contact count’.

The commitments include: working with the National Inclusion Health Board to improve the evidence base on the health of homeless people; funding Homeless Link to improve outcomes for people with dual drugs/alcohol addiction and mental health needs; and ensuring patients discharged from hospital know who to approach for help.

Homeless can be prevented and health inequalities avoided through a joint approach to working, the Department of Communities and Local Government suggested.

Grant Shapps, housing minister, said: “The vision of this report is simple, but bold. There is no place for homelessness in the 21st Century. The key to delivering that vision is prevention – agencies working together to support those at risk of homelessness.

“That is a challenge for all of us. No single voluntary sector organisation, government agency, local authority or central government department can prevent homelessness alone but working together we can make a big impact. Through this report we are showing how central government is playing its part. I call on our local and voluntary sector partners to do the same.”

Cllr Mike Jones, chairman of the LGA Environment Board, suggested that the report “misses the bigger picture”.

He agreed that councils cannot do this work alone, but said that Government needs to go much further: “One of the best ways to tackle homelessness is with bricks and mortar. It is in everyone's interest to remove unnecessary barriers which prevent the homes we desperately need being brought forward.

“Councils are keen to play their part in this and could go further and faster to support the development of badly-needed new homes, while investing in existing ones, if Government removed some of the obstacles that stand in their way by giving councils greater financial flexibility.”

View the report at: www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/pdf/2200459.pdf

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