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Tory homeless blueprint

May 23 2009
A Conservative report calls for additional help for vulnerable veterans and ex-offenders In his latest bid to reform government policy on managing homelessness, shadow housing minister Grant Shapps has called for a multifaceted approach to the problem, requesting that the Department for Work and Pensions, the NHS, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice work closer together. In a Conservative report entitled Blueprint for Tackling Homelessness, Shapps specifically cited failures within the benefits system, and health and support services, and called for additional help for vulnerable veterans and ex-offenders. The Tory minister has made homelessness his big project since landing the shadow cabinet position two years ago, working closely with Crisis and even sleeping rough one Christmas Eve in an attempt to demonstrate his commitment to the cause. Throughout 2008, he has been complaining about the methods used by local authorities to count rough sleepers. He believes the rounding down of figures prevents the government from getting an accurate picture of street homelessness in Britain. This year, Shapps has turned his attention to ex-soldiers, condemning what he called 'profound inadequacies' in housing support for veterans. He said the Conservatives want to make it easier for veterans to train for new careers and access housing and healthcare. "When people have put their lives at risk for the sake of our security, it is a national disgrace that they can return from service with no certainty about their living conditions," Mr Shapps said. The Tories want to make it easier to start work, lifting restrictions and creating alternatives to the necessary address.