Page last updated at 13:29 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Mayor rallies experts on homeless

Boris Johnson
London's mayor wants to end rough sleeping in London by 2012

New plans to help tackle London's homeless problem have been announced.

Mayor Boris Johnson promised the launch of the London Delivery Board will beckon a "fresh and dynamic" approach to the issue.

The board will bring together experts, including people from the charity Crisis, focused on ending rough sleeping in the city by 2012.

Half the country's rough sleepers are found in London - a total of 3,000 people over the course of a year.

'Challenging times'

Mr Johnson said: "We are fully aware that in the current recession, when many might say that we should focus on other priorities such as building more homes, that this is an ambitious commitment.

Ending rough sleeping will require determined leadership
Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis

"However, even in these challenging economic times, we must not lose sight of those less fortunate."

The new board will compromise senior representatives from voluntary and public sector bodies including local authorities, leading charities and central government.

It will also span a range of support services including social, health, and drugs and alcohol.

London is the only region that has failed to meet ministers' 1998 target to reduce homelessness by two-thirds.

Experts say a key reason for this failure has been the lack of a co-ordinated response that works across geographical and organisational boundaries."

"Ending rough sleeping will require determined leadership," said Leslie Morphy, chief executive of the charity Crisis.

"It also requires a joined up approach across the capital to ensure homeless people get the housing, healthcare, skills and employment services they need.



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