HC Deb 10 June 2002 vol 386 c1079W
Dr. Evan Harris

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what(a) number and (b) proportion of people (i) sleeping rough and (ii) living in temporary accommodation were looked after by local authorities when they were children. [56566]

Jacqui Smith

As at December 2001 there were some 78,600 households accepted as statutorily homeless by local authorities living in temporary accommodation. A household is the unit used to collect this data—it will include families with children and other vulnerable couples or single people who have a statutory right to assistance to meet their housing needs from local authorities. The rough sleepers unit estimates that as at November 2001 there were 532 people sleeping rough in England on any night. At present the Department does not keep statistics centrally about where young people are living after they leave care.

The Children (Leaving Care) Act commenced in October 2001. This imposes a new duty on local authorities to ensure that care leavers are provided with suitable accommodation, which will not include temporary accommodation. From 2004, local authorities will be required to submit information to the Department about the performance of their leaving care services, including statistics on the numbers of care leavers placed in suitable accommodation.