32m projects to tackle homelessness

Nationwide over 32m is being given out to develop new ways of tackling homelessness more effectively. The successful projects were announced today by housing minister Yvette Cooper.

The Cross Authority Lettings Agency project in Gloucestershire and Somerset has received 160,000 towards its work to set up a ‘virtual property shop’, aimed at preventing homelessness before a homelessness application needs to be made. The project will include access to private sector accommodation, a rent in advance system and a deposit/bond scheme.

The Devon and Cornwall Street Services Team, meanwhile, aims to reduce rough sleeping and single homelessness by pooling resources across the two counties, in order to provide a dedicated service to re-house the homeless. It, too, has received 160,000 in government funding.

All the projects demonstrate innovative ways of working and developing effective partnerships to reduce homelessness. The Homelessness Innovation Fund is part of the government’s strategy to cut the number of households in temporary accommodation by 50% by 2010.

Schemes announced today across England are expected to reduce the number of households in temporary accommodation by 4,000, and prevent 2,400 new cases of homelessness.

Cooper says: “We have seen homelessness fall significantly over the last year. New local strategies and 32m of investment in preventing homelessness are making a real difference. But we need to keep up the progress, especially in getting families in temporary accommodation into a long-term home. That’s why it’s important to develop new ways to tackle homelessness, and to share those lessons more widely.

Cooper adds: “Projects being announced today show a range of creative approaches, whether it’s providing the skills to maintain tenancies or the time and space for youngsters to resolve family disputes and avoid homelessness. All have a common aim to prevent and reduce homelessness and form part of a wider strategy, which includes more investment in social housing, and homes for shared ownership as well as increased funding for prevention.”