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Saturday, October 1, 2016
Catholic agency applauds government proposals on homelessness
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 CHAS, the Catholic Housing Aid Society, has welcomed the UK government's package of proposals on homelessness. Media officer Sarah Williamson said: "The new figures issued on Thursday reveal an increase in homelessness. The number of people in temporary and Bed and Breakfast accommodation is still much higher than the previous year. "The report of the new Homelessness Directorate, 'More than a Roof', indicates a real commitment from the government to work towards the prevention of homelessness and tackle homelessness in all its forms, which is something CHAS has always emphasised." She said: "The commitment to eradicate the use of Bed and Breakfast for families with children by 2004 is an ambitious one that we applaud. The adjunct that B&Bs will be resorted to for families 'only in an emergency' needs clarifying, and there need to be definite standards for the self-contained temporary accommodation to replace B&Bs, so that it is suitable for families with children. Also, half the households in Bed and Breakfast hotels do not have children but B&B does not provide a suitable home for anyone, regardless of their personal circumstances, and these people must not be forgotten. While we welcome these new proposals, then, there are questions that need to be addressed, which CHAS will continue to press. Chief among these is the chronic shortage of affordable housing, particularly in London and the South East. Temporary housing is not a home, and we will continue to call for real solutions so that everyone has somewhere they can call a home." There are now 78,620 homeless households in local authority housing - up 680 on the last quarter. While numbers in Bed and Breakfast hotels fell by 1 per cent over the last quarter, they are still some 23 per cent higher than in December 2000. CHAS has been campaigning to prevent homelessness for over 40 years. The agency has nine housing advice centres in England. Its Policy and Education Department works with church and community groups, schools and politicians to effect positive change for homeless and badly housed people.
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