Responding to the Government's 'Making every contact count' report on preventing homelessness, Cllr Mike Jones, Chairman of the Local Government Association Environment Board, said:
"It is a tragedy when anyone becomes homeless. Councils are working closely with partners to place people into secure, appropriate accommodation and provide the most comprehensive support they can, whether that be equipping them with the skills to find work or ensuring their health and wellbeing.
"However, this is only getting tougher as a result of job losses, rent increases and welfare cuts. Councils, who are contending with significant cuts to their budgets, cannot do this alone and the future of this type of support will be dependent on the whole public sector sharing resources and working together. Government still needs to go much further in reforming the public sector and devolving responsibility for allocating public money for all public services – from social housing to the health service – down to locally elected people.
"The challenges laid down in this report also miss the bigger picture. One of the best ways to tackle homelessness is with bricks and mortar.
"It is in everyone's interest to remove unnecessary barriers which prevent the homes we desperately need being brought forward. Councils are keen to play their part in this and could go further and faster to support the development of badly-needed new homes, while investing in existing ones, if Government removed some of the obstacles that stand in their way by giving councils greater financial flexibility."
The 'Making every contact count' report is being released by the Department for Communities and Local Government on Thursday, 16 August.
Author: LGA Media Office
Contact: Simon Ward, Local Government Association Media Office, Telephone: 020 7664 3333
31 August 2012