HC Deb 19 November 2003 vol 413 c1081W
Linda Perham

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what plans he has to tackle homelessness among older people. [136656]

Yvette Cooper

The Government are determined to tackle all forms of homelessness including amongst older people and wants to prevent it occurring wherever possible. This was set out in the March 2002 report, "More than a roof, which focused on the problems homeless people face as much as on places where they live.

Under current legislation vulnerability due to old age is a priority need category. This ensures that vulnerable older people who become unintentionally homeless, or threatened with homelessness, must be provided with suitable accommodation by the local authority.

In addition, the Homelessness Act 2002 required each local authority in England to undertake a review of homelessness in their area and put a strategy in place by the end of July 2003 to ensure that accommodation and support is available within their districts for homeless people and those at risk of homelessness. The Homelessness Directorate within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has also issued good practice guidance to assist local authorities in the development of their strategies including information on addressing the needs of older people who are homeless or vulnerable to homelessness.