§ Mr. Martlew
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how the sum of £250 million, recently allocated by his Department to tackle homelessness, will be distributed to provide accommodation for the households accepted as homeless by local authorities.
§ Mr. Chope
As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment announced on 15 November, over the next two years we are making an extra £177 million available to local authorities, and an extra £73 million to the Housing Corporation (for distribution to housing associations), for homelessness projects in the "pressure areas" of London and the south-east. The aim is to secure extra lettings for homeless families currently in bed and breakfast accommodation. We have invited bids from local authorities in London and the south-east. Similarly, the Housing Corporation has invited bids from housing associations.
§ Mrs. Gorman
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a further statement on his plans to reduce homelessness.
§ Mr. Howard
On 15 November my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced a substantial package of measures to relieve and reduce homelessness, following our thorough review of the legislation. Since then, I have invited bids from local authorities in the pressure areas of London and the south-east for projects under the £250 million of extra resources available (and the Housing Corporation has invited bids from housing associations). I have announced that councils will be able to continue existing leasing schemes for a further period of three years, without affecting their capital allocations, to ensure that homeless families are not returned to bed and breakfast accommodations; and I have visited various voluntary organisations to discuss the enhanced role we would like them to play, with increased Government funding.