Government housing policy is a welcome step forward but it doesn't go far enough: that's the view of Britain's churches. Yesterday the Green Pepper campaign, co-ordinated by the CHAS (the Catholic Housing Aid Society) and CNHC (the Churches National Housing Coalition) submitted its response to the government's Housing Green Paper, 'Quality and choice: A decent home for all'. The reply follows consultation with more than 6,000 churches and individuals campaigning for affordable housing around the country. Proposals made by Green Pepper to government include: * a charter for homeless people, on a par with the Patient's Charter. This would state the service that homeless people can expect. It would outline the choices open to them and the support available, both in assisting them to make those choices and once they have signed a tenancy. * the repeal of the Single Room Rent regulations, which lead directly to debt and hardship for young, single people. These rules restrict housing benefit payments for single people under 25. Young people must make up the remainder of their rent from their already low incomes. * a duty to ensure independent advice and support, both to prevent homelessness and, for some people, to help them to access and sustain a tenancy. * a comprehensive strategy to ensure a decent home for all, not simply those labelled as vulnerable. This will require more resources. Robina Rafferty MBE, director of CHAS said: "The Housing Green Paper is a welcome step forward to ensuring a decent home for all, but it doesn't go far enough. Green Pepper will continue campaigning to take forward the issues that concern our supporters. We look forward to a Housing Bill in the Queen's Speech in the new session of Parliament" CHAS has been campaigning to prevent homelessness for over 40 years. The Green Pepper Campaign was launched in the autumn of 1999.
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