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Councils in England spend nearly £345 million on homelessness a year, a Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) department paper reveals published in August 2012.
Local authorities spend around £100 million on temporary accommodation and £70 million on homelessness prevention, according to 2010/11 forms English councils returned to CLG on housing services revenue.
The department has highlighted the costs of homeless in an evidence review, which is a basis for further research and analysis on the financial cost of homelessness.
It also points to a Department of Health 2010 study that suggests the cost of homelessness to the NHS is £64 million a year, with homeless people 3.2 times more likely than the general population to be an inpatient admission.
Although, it notes, the health figures only cover hospital admissions and accident emergency attendances which are ‘likely to represent only a small fraction of the total costs to health services’.
The document gives previously unpublished cost estimates from the Ministry of Justice showing the cost to the criminal justice system of a man convicted of shop-lifting is around £3,500, while the total cost of a drug offence conviction is estimated to be around £16,000.
CLG notes in the paper an accurate financial cost of homelessness to the government is difficult to assess because of the lack of evidence on the number of homeless people interacting with government services.
The evidence in the review related mainly to single homeless rough sleepers and hostel dwellers because it was believed most homelessness costs are attributable to the most vulnerable and hardest to help.
To read the DCLG paper "Evidence review of the costs of homelessness"
A report setting out Government commitments to preventing homelessness is published today by the Ministerial Working Group on preventing and tackling homelessness.
‘Making Every Contact Count: A joint approach to preventing homelessness’ is the second of 2 reports on homelessness published by the Ministerial Working Group of which Health Minister Paul Burstow is a member.
The first report from the Working Group – which is chaired by Grant Shapps, Minister for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) – was published last summer and focused on preventing rough sleeping.
This latest report includes the following commitments by the Department of Health.
The Department will:
Tackling health inequalities is a government priority, and part of its wider focus on fairness and social justice. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 contains the first ever legal duties on health inequalities for NHS commissioners and the Secretary of State.
Within a broad strategy to tackle health inequalities across the country, the Department is also addressing the health needs of those people who are most vulnerable to poor health outcomes through the Inclusion Health programme, which will focus on improving access and outcomes for vulnerable groups.
The National Inclusion Health Board comprises a small group of senior leaders who oversee the Inclusion Health programme providing challenge, oversight and expertise to the programme.
Lord Mayor's appeal helps the homeless
The Lord Mayor of Bradford has released the first funds raised through his Sprinkle Sunshine charity appeal.
Coun Dale Smith presented a cheque for £1,000 to Hope Housing, a homeless charity based in Bradford, during a special meeting of the Lord Mayor's Appeal Committee in City Hall.
(Lord Mayor presenting the cheque to Adam Clark)
Hope Housing was started nearly four years ago by local people responding to the needs of homeless people in Bradford.
It operates a team of volunteers who offer a spare room for the night to a homeless person. It also has the use of several houses across the district and, in partnership with local churches, provides support to the tenants. Last year it was able to help over 150 people off the streets of Bradford.
Hope Housing was one of five of the Lord Mayor's initial target organisations for donation. The other organisations are the churches of St Joseph and St Patrick, the Canterbury Estate Imagination Library, Roshni Ghar, and Keighley and District Talking Newspaper for the Blind.
Adam Clark, Hope Housing's Project Co-ordinator, said: "We are very grateful for the support that the Lord Mayor has given us. It has been a real encouragement and the generous donation will enable us to help many homeless people off the streets of Bradford.”
The Lord Mayor, Coun Dale Smith, said:"As Lord Mayor I am delighted to confirm that my Sprinkle Sunshine Appeal has now paid out its first £1,000 donation. The lucky recipient was Hope Housing who work valiantly to support the homeless in our community. At a recent meeting of my Appeal Committee Adam gave us thought provoking details of how Hope Housing was helping people in desperate circumstances.
"I am thrilled at the way Bradfordians have empathised with my Appeal's concept of sprinkling a little to lots and we are now well on the way to being able to meet the initial five targets for donations. Why not join the fundraising efforts and initiate a project to support me? I would also welcome further suggestions of other smallish organisations to which I might sprinkle yet more sunshine.”
Anyone interested in making a donation, or suggesting an organisation that could benefit from this year's Appeal, should contact the Lord Mayor's office on 01274 434965 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about Hope Housing please visit:
Homeless people face hardship in PRS, report finds
Homeless people in the private rented sector (PRS) have to go without heating, electricity or food to provide for their children, a report has found published on Friday 22nd June by Homelessness charities Shelter and Crisis which has some interim findings from a three-year study into the experiences of homeless people in the private rented sector.
It comes as increasing numbers of homeless people are being placed in the PRS, with numbers likely to go up as local authorities make use of new powers that allow them to discharge their homelessness duty by placing people with private landlords.
The sustain project has so far interviewed 171 homeless people recently settled in the PRS between April and October 2011.
The report says: ‘People reported having difficult choices to make about how to manage their finances, including going without heating, electricity or food in order to prioritise costs for their children.
‘Some people did not have, or could not rent somewhere with basic white goods, such as fridges and freezers and the means of heating food. This had a negative impact on their ability to budget and plan for food.’
The interim report also notes people came up against various barriers when trying to get into private sector rented accommodation, starting from when they approached the local authority, such as not having the correct identification or having accrued debt from previous tenancies.
Several also found it hard to access tenancies because they came across landlords who would not accept tenants on housing benefit or because they did not have a rent deposit, the charities’ research found.
The people interviewed often accepted the first tenancy offered, which meant they ended up moving into unsuitable homes or areas. Most moved into the PRS because they felt they had no choice, having been told they were told they would be unlikely to access social tenancies or refused help by the local authority.
The English housing survey 2010/11, published by Communities and Local Government department, notes 3.6 million households were in the private rented sector in that year, up more than 1.5 million from 2001.
You can view the "Sustain: a longitudinal study of housing wellbeing in the private rented sector" Interim report 2012 by clicking here
The final sustain report will be published in the summer of 2013.
Jobcentre bosses warn of suicide risk among benefit claimants
Senior jobcentre executives have warned staff of the risk of benefit claimants attempting suicide as controversial changes to sickness benefits are being pushed through.
The warning, contained in an internal letter sent to staff by three senior managers of the government-run jobcentres, warns staff that ill-handling of benefit changes for vulnerable claimants could have "profound results" and highlights the case of one suicide attempt this year.
It emphasises the need for the "utmost care and sensitivity" when dealing with customers, as a result of "difficult changes which some of our more vulnerable customers may take some time to accept and adjust to".
The letter, adds: "Very sadly, only last week a customer of DWP [Department for Work and Pensions] attempted suicide" – which it adds is "said to be the result of receiving a letter" informing him that his sickness benefit would be cut off.
The memo will crystallise concerns among charities, campaigners and medical professionals over the impact of welfare reforms on the mental health of some of Britain's most vulnerable people.
Disability campaigners privately warned ministers last year that flaws in the work capability assessment, would lead to some mentally ill people taking their own lives. But they said they were accused by ministers of scaremongering.
Neil Coyle of the charity Disability Rights UK, said: "The government is cutting direct support for thousands of disabled people and using a process to do so which is unfit for purpose. The assessment process for out of work benefits needs urgent improvement to ensure genuine needs are identified properly and to avoid further tragic consequences.
"We and our members warned the government – and DWP especially – of the impact of cuts in support but the problem has been swept under the carpet in the rush to deliver cuts in welfare expenditure. Numbers on a balance sheet have been considered more important than the lived reality of disabled people sadly."
The memo was sent in late April, days before the controversial ch