§ Mr. Raynsford
The Government places great value on the work of the voluntary sector in the prevention and relief of homelessness. This year the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is providing £7.9 million in grants to fund 195 projects, run by voluntary sector organisations, that help single people in housing need. The voluntary sector has also played a major role in the Rough Sleepers Initiative. My hon. Friend the Minister for Housing has recently announced £17.2 million in funding to voluntary sector organisations and housing associations, to be spent over the next two years, to extend provisions for people who are sleeping rough to twelve areas outside central London.
Links with the voluntary sector have been strengthened by the secondment of Ian Brady, deputy Chief Executive of Centrepoint, to the Department. Mr. Brady will be promoting guidance and encouraging the development of local strategies to ensure that there is no necessity for people to sleep rough. He will also chair a Rough Sleepers Forum of homelessness charities to help co-ordinate national efforts to tackle rough sleeping.