HC Deb 26 April 2004 vol 420 cc786-7W
Mr. Alan Campbell

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many people are registered as homeless in North Tyneside; [165354]

(2) what recent steps his Department has taken to tackle homelessness in North Tyneside. [165363]

Yvette Cooper

Information on homelessness collected by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is in respect of applicant households, rather than persons. In the 12 months to the end of September 2003—the most recent period for which the authority provided information—North Tyneside reported 1,066 households accepted as eligible, unintentionally homeless and in priority need. As at 30 September 2003, 69 households were in temporary accommodation provided by the authority. Of these, 24 were housed pending completion of inquiries or a review; the remaining 45, along with a further 331 classified as "homeless at home", continued to be owed a main homelessness duty.

The latest local authority Housing Investment Programme returns for spring 2003 show that North Tyneside submitted a 0–10 estimate on rough sleeping.

In the quarter to the end of September 2003, the most recent period for which the authority provided information, North Tyneside reported that 14 households were in bed and breakfast accommodation provided by the authority.

The Homelessness and Housing Support Directorate within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has provided North Tyneside Metropolitan District Council with funding of £79,593 in 2003–04 and allocated £92,000 for 2004–05. This funding will support the authority in their continued implementation of their homelessness strategy which they had to publish for the first time last year.

The Government's approach to tackling homelessness focuses on the problems homeless people face as well as places they live. This approach was set out in our March 2002 publication, "More than a roof".

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are investing significant resources into tackling homelessness—£260 million over three years (2003–04 to 2005–06)— double previous spending plans, together with changes to housing benefit subsidies, which are helping local authorities to meet the Government's commitment that by March 2004 there should be no homeless families with children living in B&B accommodation for longer than six weeks, and to sustain low levels of rough sleeping. It will also support new approaches that help people tackle the problems that are making and keeping them homeless—helping them rebuild relationships with their family, access training or employment, overcome debt or tackle drug addiction.