Homelessness, Skills, Welfare to Work

New Ministerial working group on Homelessness

Last week (16th June) we saw the first meeting of homelessness ministers from eight Government departments. This was set up by the Prime Minister  to step up action to help the homeless.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps has announced plans to overhaul the system for measuring homelessness and agreed changes will come into effect from 2011

Current rough sleeping count of 464 (2009) includes information from the 76 LAs who conducted a formal street count between January 2008 and May 2009. The majority of LAs (278) DID NOT carry out a count as there was not a known or suspected rough sleeping problem in their area.

Homelessness charities know that in London alone at least 3,000 rough sleepers access services in London each year

Leslie Morphy, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “Crisis has always said that the system for counting rough sleepers had flaws and did not give a full account of either rough sleeping or wider homelessness so we welcome the announcement that the system will be reformed.

The Ministers in the new Homelessness Working Group are:

  1. Grant Shapps MP (Con) – Department for Communities and Local Government (housing and homelessness) (Chair)
  2. Andrew Robathan MP (Con) – Ministry of Defence (welfare of veterans)
  3. John Hayes MP (Con) – Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (adult skills)
  4. Paul Burstow MP (LD) – Department of Health (health and care services)
  5. Lord David Freud (Con) – Department for Work and Pensions (housing benefit)
  6. Crispin Blunt MP (Con) – Ministry of Justice (criminal justice)
  7. James Brokenshire (Con) – Home Office (crime prevention)
  8. Tim Loughton MP (Con) – Department for Education (children and youth services)

It’s reassuring to see that both John Hayes …. who has famously set colleges free!!!! and Lord Freud architect of – a sizable part of – the on-going welfare reform agenda were sat around the table.

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