Letter : Tories who give to the homeless

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The Independent Online
In her undercover report on homeless people, Ros Wynne-Jones fails to mention the help the Government has been providing in London since 1990 under the Rough Sleepers Initiative ("Got any spare change, Mr Gummer", 9 March). We have invested over pounds 180m to help several thousand people move into permanent accommodation. The money has been spent on hostel places and over 3,300 permanent homes. Importantly, it has also paid for specialist outreach and resettlement workers who offer rough sleepers the encouragement and support necessary to adjust to a settled lifestyle away from the streets.

Ms Wynne-Jones implies that there are 400,000 people in Britain without their own homes. In fact, evidence collected by voluntary sector agencies indicates that the number of people living rough in England may be measured in hundreds. In central London, the number sleeping rough on any night has fallen from over 1,000 in 1990 to fewer than 300 now.

Our aim is to ensure that no one need sleep rough. That is why, last year, I announced that we would make available a further pounds 73m for a third phase of the Rough Sleepers Initiative.

David Curry MP

London SW1