HC Deb 15 July 2003 vol 409 cc285-6W
Mr. Paul Marsden

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on recent progress made in finding permanent homes for homeless families in priority need. [125853]

Yvette Cooper

The Homelessness Directorate in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister aims to foster sustainable communities by tackling homelessness more effectively and, in particular, delivering the Government's target toend the use of B&B hotels for homeless families with children, except in short-term emergencies by March 2004.

The Directorate has a budget of £260 million over the three years 2003–04 to 2005–06, most of which will be allocated to local authorities in support of their homelessness strategies, which they must have in place by 30 July 2003. The strategy must aim to prevent homelessness and ensure that accommodation and support are available for people who become homeless or are at risk of doing so. This funding will also assist local authorities in their efforts to tackle B&B use.

The Directorate is investing £17 million over 2003/04/ 05 to support London & Quadrant Housing Trust to provide around 500 family houses for homeless households. Homes are being funded within the Housing Corporation's Social Housing Grant regime across a number of London boroughs where there are currently high numbers of black and minority ethnic households in temporary accommodation including B&B hotels.

Affordable housing has a vital role to play in tackling homelessness. As detailed in the Sustainable Communities Plan, £5 billion is being invested in affordable housing over the next three years. This will make a further contribution to preventing homelessness and moving families out of B&B.

In 2003–04 we are increasing the funding for the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme to around £1.5 billion in 2003–04 to provide homes for both rent and low cost home ownership—an increase of £500 million on last year. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister expect the Housing Corporation's programme, including the Challenge Fund in London and South-east England, to deliver around 22,000 homes this year.