§ Phil Hope
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister currently has four externally commissioned research projects on different aspects of homelessness, which include consideration of homeless families.
1. A nationally representative survey of homeless families will collect data on the characteristics of homeless families and on the reasons for their homelessness. It will also assess the impact of homelessness and living in different types of temporary accommodation on the health and education of children, and collect 1168W information on the additional costs faced by families as a result of their homelessness. Findings from the survey will help to inform future policy on homelessness and the use of temporary accommodation. Planning for this major survey has been informed by a successful feasibility study, which reported this summer. This study will complement quarterly statistical data collected on households accepted as statutory homeless by local authorities.
2. Research about the causes of homelessness among black and minority ethnic communities. People from BME groups are disproportionately represented in statutory homelessness statistics. A development guide to assist local authorities and other agencies to address the needs of homeless black and minority ethnic households is expected to be published by the end of this year.
3. A study to evaluate the effectiveness of a range of homelessness prevention initiatives, including family mediation services, help for victims of domestic violence to remain safely in their own homes, and homelessness advice services. This research has recently been commissioned, and will produce good practice guidance for local authorities and service providers, to be published early in 2003.
4. A survey of households receiving Supporting People legacy funded services. This survey was commissioned to measure satisfaction with housing related support services provided by the Supporting People programme. The survey included interviews with 351 families receiving Supporting People funded services for homeless families. The survey reported on their support needs, the help and services that they receive, and on the problems they had experienced. It is due to be published in the autumn of 2004.