A number of constituents have contacted me regarding the Homelessness Reduction Bill.
I would like to pay tribute to the excellent work that charities like St Mungo’s do to support those who find themselves homeless. Every person sleeping rough is a tragedy and I am glad that the Government is working to reduce homelessness.
Councils have a duty to provide advice on homelessness to anyone seeking help and they will take steps to prevent homelessness wherever possible. Since 2010, councils have prevented over 1 million households from becoming homeless and the Government is now protecting homelessness prevention for councils. This will total £315 million by 2020. It has also increased central funding to tackle homelessness to £139 million over the next four years. This includes targeted funding for rough sleeping.
I have been assured by my ministerial colleagues that the Government is considering a broad range of options, including legislation, to prevent more people from becoming homeless. The report by the Crisis Expert Panel has been welcomed by the Government. It provides a valuable insight into how aspects of the current legislation in England can be updated in light of the models adopted in Scotland and Wales.
I am committed to tackling homelessness and I am glad that this is an issue which the Government is taking seriously. In the last parliament over £500 million was provided to councils and charities to tackle homelessness and central Government funding is now increasing to reduce homelessness further. I welcome the Communities and Local Government Select Committee report and I am determined that we should act to prevent homelessness as far as possible.