HC Deb 07 December 1994 vol 251 cc214-5W
Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has received regarding the numbers of rough sleepers(a) in London and (b) outside London; and what representations he has received regarding accommodation provision for them outside London.

Mr. Robert B. Jones

The 1991 census is the only national count of people sleeping rough. It found 2,650 people sleeping out in England, of whom 1,197 were in London, with most concentrated in the central London boroughs. Since 1990, the Government's £182 million rough sleepers initiative has been successful in reducing the number of people sleeping rough in central London by around three-quarters; 268 were found in a count undertaken by voluntary sector organisations in May 1994.

My Department receives occasional representations to extend the RSI outside central London. however, the initiative remains targeted on central London because the greatest concentrations of people sleeping rough remain there. Outside central London, it is the responsibility of each local authority to consider the housing needs of all people living in its area, including people sleeping rough, when drawing up its housing strategy. I commend to local authorities the RSI model of co-operation between statutory and voluntary organisations in meeting the needs of people sleeping rough.

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