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Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) landlords, (b) housing associations and (c) local authorities participated in the social HomeBuy scheme in (i) each region in England and (ii) each London borough in (A) 2006-07, (B) 2007-08 and (C) 2008-09. 
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what support services are offered by her Department to help homeless people find housing; and if she will make a statement; 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Government take all aspects of homelessness very seriously. We have allocated over £200 million to local authorities and voluntary organisations over the next three years (2008-11) to tackle and prevent homelessness in their area. This is the biggest ever cash injection for homelessness services.
Over recent months Government have announced a series of measures and new funding that will help homeowners remain in their home wherever possible. This help includes the £200 million Mortgage Rescue Scheme which should enable up to 6,000 of the most vulnerable households to avoid repossession; the Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme which will allow households to defer payment on their mortgage for up to two years; and substantial changes to Support for Mortgage Interest by reducing the waiting time from 39 weeks to 13 weeks, and increasing the capital limit to £200,000.
In addition, my Department has provided £2.5 million funding to the National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS) which is a partnership between Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABx) providing high quality advice on homelessness prevention through the network of participating CABx and other voluntary agencies across England. The funding will also help to strengthen NHAS responses to support those people facing repossession. This will involve training 1,000 front line advice workers in Shelter and CABx which NHAS will also roll out to local authorities.
In November 2008 we launched No One Left Out: communities ending rough sleeping, an action plan developed with leading rough sleeping charities which uses action, advice and assistance across England to prevent the flow of people onto the streets, as well as to support those already there to get off the streets into stability. This is supported by our Places of Change
programme which is transforming services for rough sleepers. £80 million has been provided for the period 2008-11.
Government have also provided additional funding for advice services. Last year CLG funded 40 court desks that provide free legal representation at repossession hearings and are successful in 85 per cent. of cases where people attend court. We continue to review court desk funding.
Mr. Iain Wright: Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 provides one of the strongest safety nets in the world for families with children and vulnerable people who become homeless through no fault of their own. It provides a consistent, national statutory framework for the provision of homelessness assistance across England. The Secretary of State has issued guidance to which all local authorities in England must have regard to when exercising their functions relating to homelessness and the prevention of homelessness. Extensive data about local housing authorities activities under the relevant legislation are collected and published quarterly. These data are monitored by a team of homelessness specialist advisers, located within the Department of Communities and Local Government, who work closely with local authorities to help them tackle and prevent homelessness effectively.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the number of people who were homeless in (a) the City of Southampton, (b) the ceremonial county of Hampshire, (c) Test Valley borough and (d) England in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Information about English local housing authorities actions under the homelessness legislation (part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected quarterly at local authority level, about households rather than individuals.
Data collected include the number of households accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to secure that suitable accommodation is available). If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority must secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available.
Information is also collected on the number of people who sleep rough. Mid-year rough sleeping estimates have been published annually since 1998, and give a snapshot of the number of people sleeping rough on a single night, based on local authority street counts in those areas where there is a known or suspected rough sleeping problem.
Summary tables showing the total number of households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty and in temporary accommodation for each year since 1997-98, and rough sleeper estimates for each year since 1998, for each local authority, were provided in the answer I gave to the hon. Member for West Suffolk (Mr. Spring) on 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1499-1500W, and are available in the Library.
|Table A: Number of households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty during the year, Hampshire and England, 2003-04 to 2007-08|
|Table B: Number of households in temporary accommodation at end of year, Hampshire and England, March 2004 to March 2008|
|(1) Data not reported by local authority|
(2) National figures include estimates of missing data.
|Table C: Number of rough sleepers (persons), Hampshire and England, 2004 to 2008|
|Mid-year estimate, based on count, or zero if no problem is known or suspected|
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