§ Dr. Murrison
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on homelessness among young people in the South West. 
§ Mr. McNulty
Between 1 January and 31 March 2002, there were 2,790 households in the South West region accepted by local authorities under statutory homelessness provisions, of which 153 were in the priority need category "vulnerable young person".
The Homelessness Act 2002 will place a statutory requirement on local housing authorities to adopt a strategy for preventing homelessness in their district and ensuring that sufficient accommodation, and any necessary support, is available for people who are, or may become homeless. On 14 March 2002, authorities were invited to submit proposals to the Homelessness Directorate in my Department for funding for local homelessness strategies. 21 authorities in the South West region have submitted bids which are being considered currently.
An Order has been laid for approval by Parliament to extend the groups of people who have a priority need for accommodation under the homelessness legislation. This will ensure that vulnerable homeless people leaving institutions, young people including those leaving care, and people fleeing domestic, racial and other forms of violence get the help they need.
In addition to the funding available for homelessness strategies, £8 million per annum has been provided to local authorities (through the local government finance settlement, with effect from 2001–02) to implement the Homelessness Act. A further £10 million will be allocated in 2002–03 to enable authorities to deliver the Priority Need Order.