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SNaP report uncovers hostel provision in England

May 18 2009
Resource Information Service and Homeless Link to map homeless services available in England A report commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to help take the Hostels Capital Improvement Programme to the next level, is due to be published this month. The report, Survey of Needs and Provision (SNaP), has been carried out by research charity Resource Information Service and by Homeless Link, the national membership organisation for homeless agencies in England. The organisations joined forces to develop a new initiative that will map the services available to homeless single people and couples in England. It is hoped the new research will give service providers, the government and other interested parties a better idea of the availability and condition of the hostel and temporary accommodation sector in England. Currently, the government does not collate statistics on the number of homeless people in hostels. Last year, Andrew Slaughter, MP, asked Yvette Cooper, minister for housing, how many single people were in hostel accommodation in England. She replied that the data requested was "not held centrally". Peter Watson, assistant director for homelessness at RIS, which has been producing the London Hostels Directory for the past 20 years, told The Pavement: "We were contacted by DCLG because they were planning Phase Two of [the Hostels Capital Improvement Programme], but they wanted some good data on how many hostels are there, what sort of condition they are in, how many have still got shared rooms and so on. "As Ms Cooper's response indicated, there has not been robust information on the extent and nature of accommodation and hostels for homeless people across England before. This piece of research, which we are putting the final touches to, should hopefully answer the sorts of things that people have wanted to know for many years, like how many services there are for homeless people, how many bed spaces, and what types of accommodation are available." Homeless Link's website explains the venture's reasons for carrying out the research: "The lack of information means that it is more difficult to argue for funding allocations for homeless services, adequately support providers to develop their services and to showcase the excellent work that goes on in our sector," it says. "We want to change this with a national survey looking at the provision available." The Pavement will be taking a look at the findings and talking to the key players when they're published.
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