HL Deb 24 June 1997 vol 580 cc161-2WA
Earl Russell

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hayman on 20 May (WA 5) whether they have now had the opportunity to study the Manifesto for Change published by Streetlife, and what are their responses to it.

Baroness Hayman

The aims and purposes of theManifesto for Change are to challenge and change current attitudes towards homeless people and to help homeless people to have a say in the decisions that affect their lives. The manifesto includes a number of recommendations on civil rights, exclusion, housing, hostels and day centres, resettlement services and benefits.

The need to tackle all forms of homelessness is at the heart of our housing policy. We have made a positive start in addressing our manifesto commitments on restoring a proper safety net for families and vulnerable individuals who are homeless unintentionally; and on the release of local authority capital receipts for housing.

The Government agree with many of the Manifesto for Change's recommendations, particularly on the elimination of discrimination against people who are homeless and on the provision of services appropriate to their circumstances. Funding from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions under Section 180 of the Housing Act 1996 and the recently expanded Rough Sleepers Initiative encourages the provision of advice, services and accommodation which meet the needs of homeless people. We are also keen to ensure that the views of homeless people are taken into account in the development of policies that relate to them. For example, research into single homelessness and independent evaluations of the Rough Sleepers Initiative has included interviews with homeless people to identify the reasons why they became homeless and the help which they think they need.