Charity welcomes government plans for the homeless

 The Catholic Housing Aid Society (CHAS) is celebrating, following the news that new homelessness legislation will be high on the agenda on the new parliament. Hopes were dashed when the Homes Bill, which places more obligation on councils to house homeless people, was shelved before the election. Robina Rafferty, Director of CHAS, said: "We were bitterly disappointed when the Bill fell due to lack of Parliamentary time. Now our work has borne fruit! The fact this is happening is a tribute to the patient and persevering campaigning of large numbers of church groups and other voluntary organisations who have not given up." She said: "As the homelessness provisions of the Homes Bill had cross-party support we are hoping that the passage of the new Bill through Parliament will be straightforward. With any luck it will finish in the House of Commons before the Summer Recess, and could be law before Christmas. CHAS will be monitoring the progress of this important Bill as it makes its way through Parliament." Dr. Joanna Disson, Policy and Research Officer, added: "We had hoped that the extension of priority need categories could happen immediately as this does not require primary legislation. The Government has now been advised that last year's Green Paper does not count as statutory consultation and so the proposals must be put out to consultation. With the Summer Recess approaching, this is likely to mean a considerable delay. However, CHAS looks forward to being involved in the consultation to better meet the needs of the homeless people whom church groups and our housing advisors see every day."