Government accused of failing in the literacy levels of homeless people

  • The government is not doing enough to tackle poor reading and writing skills of the homeless and agencies are failing to identify literacy and numeracy issues according to reports by a charity.

    Inside Housing also reports that funding for adult education is primarily accessed through the adult skills budget, which was cut from £2.71 billion in 2012/13 to £2.26 billion for 2014/15, with further cuts planned for the future.

    The Adults Skills Budget funding includes conditions on course completion, meaning granting places to homeless people is ‘too great a financial risk' for further education colleges, since many homeless people do not complete courses in full.

    St. Mungo's Broadway said homelessness charities also find it ‘difficult to draw on ASB funding'.

    The report also cites the fact that:

    ‘Mainstream English and maths courses are often delivered by teachers who are not trained to teach adults with multiple support needs', meaning the majority of courses are not suitable for a large proportion of homeless people.

    Howard Sinclair, chief executive of St. Mungo's Broadway, said:

    ‘From not learning how to read and write at school to being held back by the adult learning system, many people who are homeless face terrible hurdles when it comes to basic skills.'

    According to the report, 51% of homeless people wouldn't achieve a GCSE grade D-G, and therefore lack the basic literacy skills required for everyday life.

    There is presently an uncertainty over how universal credit, which calls for those with poor literacy and numeracy and IT skills to improve them, will effect this change for homeless people.

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Responding to the DWP Consultation:  Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "It was well-run, in a good location, and very useful.  I've only one suggestion; as the session went on it would perhaps have been useful for bullet points of general agreement about what should be in the sector response to be displayed and added to as the session went on, maybe on a flip chart. Regarding your response paper, I particularly like the answer you give to question 9.  In fact the general: "if it ain't broke don't fix it" response could be pushed harder." M.P. - Adref Ltd


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