May I be associated with your remarks, a Leas-Chathaoirligh? I wish my Spanish was up to it, but I will not even try the 20 words I have because I might embarrass the House.
The nub of the disagreement between myself and the Minister is that this Bill guarantees nothing to the homeless other than that they would be identified, counted and assessed. That is a particular tragedy. Having come so far in terms of identifying and quantifying the problem, the truth is that not since 1922, as far as I know, has a Minister for the Environment ever rejected a scheme of priorities produced by a housing authority. While the present Minister may well be full of good intentions he is not the master of his successors. The truth is that while all sorts of intentions can be written into the legislation the housing authority chooses to be difficult. There are good reasons why one could anticipate that a housing authority will choose to be difficult. I will talk about those in a moment also.
There is nothing in this Bill which will guarantee a homeless person accommodation. I do not understand that, because notwithstanding the fine words that the Minister and the Minister of State used in the Dáil about partnership with voluntary organisations, about the need to get away from the obsession that the State is the provider of the remedies to all our problems, the truth is that not one of the voluntary organisations — with housing authorities and Government Departments — with whom, I presume, the Minister intends he should set up a partnership accept the view of the Government or the Minister and, presumably, of his Department, that this legislation can work without people being given a right to shelter.
Somehow or other the Minister believes that he knows better than all the voluntary organisations, who have spent 20 years working with the homeless, what the response should be. While he has talked at length about why giving shelter alone to people is not sufficient, he has not explained to me why giving people a right to shelter with whatever means he thinks are necessary, is inadequate. It is not good enough to say that people have a right to shelter. What you must do is say why a particular remedy you propose is more likely to work. Let me remind the Minister again of the extract I read at the beginning of my remarks from Administration about the views of three county managers on the homeless. It is difficult to believe that people requiring the length and extent of education that those three people needed are suddenly going to become the leaders of a revolution in concern and compassion for the homeless. At a later stage I will propose a quite simple amendment to the Bill which might bring us a good way along the route.
I would not be too woried if everything in this Bill was not to my satisfaction. What is not clear from this Bill is what can be done to a recalcitrant local authority who refuse to deal with the problem. We can do a lot about them having to assess the numbers, though I was a bit distressed to read in either section 9 or 10 that they do not necessarily have to do a comprehensive survey, and that a representative sample will do. They can do that; they can produce their scheme of lettings for local authority housing, but I have never suggested that the total solution to the problem of homelessness rests in the provision of local authority housing. Neither the Bill I introduced in 1983 not anything I have ever suggested since, has ever suggested that. What I have always suggested is that it must be clear who is responsible for the provision of accommodation for homeless people, not who is responsible for building accommodation for homeless people. It must be clear who is responsible for ensuring that they are not without accommodation, who is responsible for ensuring that they get adequate accommodation and who is responsible for ensuring that the standards of that accommodation are adequate.
I have never suggested that the way to deal with the problems of homeless people is by having them all accommodated in purpose-built local authority housing. Since a substantial number of homeless people are single, it appears to me that it would be either necessary that local authorities would have to build a whole plethora of new single occupancy local authority accommodation or, alternatively, that a variety of other methods could be used. The tragedy is that in section 10 of the Bill the sorts of methods that I think would be useful are there, but what is lacking is any reason to believe that a local authority would be motivated to do anything more than make a token provision in this direction. The Minister is, perhaps, a better and more experienced politician than I am. He ought to know, therefore, that you cannot sit back and wait on goodwill.
In a world of competing priorities, competing demands and of increasing limited financial resources, those who are on the margins will be squeezed out. It is because those of us dealing with homeless people have seen people squeezed out that we want people to be given a right to shelter.
It is important to remember that this is not something outrageously radical. We already have in our Constitution a right to free primary education which was enforced by the Supreme Court not so long ago when a long-standing national school dispute in my own adopted county lasted longer than people anticipated. The Supreme Court said the State was obliged to make provision for primary education for children in that small town.
We also have a right to an income. Anybody in our society who has no income is entitled to one or other of the various income provision schemes that are available. It is important to remember that that is not a discretionary provision. It is a right subject to a means test. Since all of us have talked about people who are homeless and cannot afford to provide accommodation for themselves, we are not talking about some absolute, unqualified right. We give people a right to education. We give people a right to an income, however inadequate that income might be, but we do guarantee them an income. We also give people a right to decent health care, provided their income is below a certain limit. The health boards are obliged to provide a reasonable standard of health care. The idea of giving rights to people in areas of social provision is not something entirely new. It is already there in the area of education. It is already there in the area of income. It is already there in the area of health. The tragedy is that that which is necessary in order to guarantee people's health, in order to use their income to a reasonable extent and, perhaps, in order to make some provision for their own education — which is housing — will not be guaranteed to them by us. I do not know how we can argue that housing, which is such a fundamental need, can be treated in a different way from education, income and health. I look forward to the Minister elaborating on that.
There is a fundamental misapprehension behind much of the thinking here. That is that this provision, or my concern, is about a static population of people who happen to be static and homeless. What I and many other people are concerned about is introducing a policy position which prevents homelessness and which guarantees that people are integrated within society in a way which makes them part of society and which holds our society together. The problem with much of what is passing for public policy in this country today is that it is doing the exact opposite. Instead of holding society together, it is driving society apart.
I do not understand how the Minister can be so sure that all the voluntary organisations and the Archbishop of Dublin, and so on can all be wrong about homelessness. The Archbishop of Dublin criticised this Bill on the grounds that it did not give homeless people a right to accommodation. It was a well publicised speech in the past couple of months. I do not know how the Minister can be so sure that he is right and everybody else is wrong. I do not think the difference between us is as enormous as people might imagine. We could perhaps work out a middle road in which what is provided could at least be pushed along in the correct direction.
Since I am talking about policy responses to homelessness it is important to realise that we are not operating, as I have said before, in a vacuum. There are, for instance, a quarter of a million German citizens without accommodation, there are approximately 15,000 homeless people in Denmark, there are so many ex-psychiatric patients left on the streets of Italy that they have resulted in the coining of a new Italian word called the abandonati because they are effectively the abandoned. Homelessness in the United States has exploded from 600,000 to 3,000,000 in the last seven or eight years. The point of all that I am saying is that homelessness is not something that can be remedied by the exercise of goodwill alone. It must be dealt with in terms of clear policy decisions by the State to do things for the homeless, not to enable things to be done but to guarantee that things will be done.
At the world conference on homelessness in Boston in June 1987 — I am quoting from a report on that conference from the Simon Community national office — Professor Peter Marcuse, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, said:
Western societies have so far developed three strategies for dealing with homelessness. They consist of denying the problem, blaming the victims and hiding the consequences.
We were making considerable progress in a different direction because we had created a political consensus — the Fianna Fáil Party, in my view, in their period in Opposition contributed substantially to that — which did not choose to deny the problem. Other voices in our society, the Church and voluntary organisations, contributed to that as well. So, we chose not to deny the problem. Once we have identified the problem there is an implicit tendency to blame the victims in the responses of many to this problem and also we may well be moving in the direction of attempting to hide the consequences. That having been said, we can make choices.
We do not necessarily have to rewrite this Bill to make those choices. The response of one particular area in the United States to this is interesting. I will explain the place in a moment. In this particular state in the United States the causes of homelessness were identified as shortage of affordable suitable housing, the institutionalisation, poverty and low incomes, unemployment and the failure of professionals to provide suitable and relevant services. That state developed a four-pronged policy to deal with homelessness, prevention services, emergency services, supportive services and aggressive policies designed to produce permament housing linked to employment. Prevention was the only way the state felt it could get ahead of the problem. The governor of this state and his advisers were critical of other states that put all their energies into emergency services. That was the state of Massachusetts. It is particularly interesting because the governor of that state will be, perhaps, the next President of the United States. He is identified as a pragmatic and practical man, neither an ideologist nor a dreamy idealist.
The problem about not providing an obligation to make provision for homelessness in this Bill is that the area of prevention will be the underdeveloped area of any policy response. We will be more and more moving into the area of emergency provision rather than of prevention because there is nothing like the prospect of an obligation to provide housing for people to concentrate the minds of people into the area of preventing homelessness. If you are liable to be left with the consequences of delay, poor planning and poor policy on your doorstep in the form of an obligation enforceable in court to make provision for people, then you will be more likely to identify the causes of homelessness, to do something about them and to deal with other agencies that perhaps can contribute to them. If you do not do that, if you do not have an obligation to provide for people, you will let the matter run.
Since figures are quoted a lot about people who are homeless it is important to get some case histories on the record, because as Governor Dukakis has demonstrated it is possible to be both successful politically, financially prudent and also radical in policy terms in dealing with the problem of the homeless. Governor Dukakis's very practical response to the problem is one that I would commend to the Minister in his reading about the problem of homelessness because it appears to have worked and it appears to have been successful. He was not swamped either with people who could not handle the housing, people who were trying to abuse the housing or anything like that. He seems to have dealt with the problem remarkably well.
I want to read a few cases on to the record of the House. I am quoting from the annual street workers report of the Dublin Simon Community. They stated:
On Christmas Eve 1985 we met Joan, who is 25 years old and is originally from Ballymun. She had been sleeping rough and staying with friends on and off for a few months. Joan's family background is one of violence and for this reason she had to leave home. She is a very capable but slightly nervous person and was extremely anxious to obtain a flat. She applied to Dublin Corporation for housing. Some months later we went along to the homeless section of the corporation with Joan. We queued in a small room along with many other homeless people applying for housing. Joan's initial interview took place in front of the other applicants and did not afford any privacy. This is standard practice. Joan was offered a flat in Ballymun but this was too near home for safety. Joan, supported by one of the street workers, explained why she did not want to live in Ballymun. The officer dealing with her found this reason totally unacceptable and wondered why a woman of 25 years could not "face up to her father". At this stage Joan was in tears. Due to the intervention of the street workers, Joan was eventually assigned a corporation flat in the city centre. Joan is now settled happily into her flat and is surrounded by good and interesting neighbours.
There is a limitless list of case histories. The Simon Community report stated of Ciaran's case:
Ciaran is a man in his thirties who had worked as a merchant seaman. When we first met him in December 1985 he was sleeping rough. We kept in regular contact with Ciaran and in April 1986 he was admitted to the No Fixed Abode Unit of St. Brendan's Hospital. Following his discharge we helped him to obtain a private flat. The rent was £17 per week. Ciaran was receiving unemployment assistance of £36 per week. He applied for a rent allowance under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme. Two weeks later a community welfare officer came to visit him and, on seeing a note from the landlord's daughter stating the rent, he promised Ciaran a rent allowance of £5 a week without delay. This allowance was to increase after a few weeks. However, Ciaran was kept waiting a further four weeks before any payment whatsoever was made. Ciaran enquired from the relevant health centre the reasons for the delay in payment and was told that the note was not valid because it was not signed by the landlord himself. The reason given to us by the community welfare officer was that there had been a temporary change of personnel due to holidays. Six weeks after moving into the flat, Ciaran received a rent allowance of £5 per week which was increased to £12 per week and back dated several weeks later. This only happened after several visits and phone calls to the health centre and after Ciaran was visited a second time by another community welfare officer.
The workers' comments are:
Ciaran's story is one example of the long delays many homeless people have to endure before receiving the basic rent allowance. If Ciaran had not got the support of the Simon Street Workers he could have become homeless again due to financial difficulties incurred in waiting to obtain his rent allowance.
Members of this House ought to consider what it is like to actually have to live for six weeks on £19 a week. I invite people to think about it because, as I said at the beginning of my remarks on this issue, I am not at all persuaded that the problem of homelessness is necessarily a problem of resources alone. It is partly a problem of resources. It is also a problem of administrative will, administrative efficiency and a willingness to provide flexible responses.
I have tried to document that there is considerable evidence of a lack of flexibility and a lack of sensitivity in many of the administrative responses and, indeed, in many of the delivery agencies. I hope it is easy to see why I am less than happy about resting on the shoulders of some of those agencies the responsibility to be flexible, to be imaginative and to be creative in dealing with the problems of the homeless. The evidence up to now is sadly to the contrary.
To conclude on the work of the street workers of the Dublin Simon Community, the Dublin Simon Community's annual report for 1987, which has just been published, says:
Our street work service is designed to assist and befriend people with accommodation difficulties. The two full-time street workers visit people known to Simon in flats, prisons and hospitals. The street workers identified through telling case histories some of the problems encountered by homeless people in search of accommodation. These include standards of accommodation in the private rented sector which are appallingly low and vulnerable people are charged high rents by landlords for squalid flats. This situation continues because there is no control or regulation of this sector.
This is an area to which I invite the Minister to direct his attention. If there is a comprehensive response to the problem of homelessness, part of it must be an attempt to produce some sort of comprehensive enforceable sustainable standards for accommodation provision in the private sector. The report goes on to say there is unnecessary hardship, as a result of long delays on the part of the Eastern Health Board in granting basic rent allowances and these delays can last up to 15 weeks.
The point I want to make here is that the Eastern Health Board are familiar with and experienced in the provision of financial assistance to people through the community welfare officers and the supplementary welfare service. What am I supposed then to make of section 10 of the Bill where housing authorities may provide a person with such assistance including assistance as the authority consider appropriate. As of now, I am not aware of any function of a housing authority to provide people with financial assistance. When I see the records of an agency experienced in and familiar with the provision of financial assistance I am entitled to be less than optimistic about how any agency who have no familiarity with or experience in this area will deal with the question of providing financial assistance to people.
That is the sort of reason I have for being pessimistic about the effectiveness of section 10 of the Bill. The Simon Community report said that there are little or no support services for people discharged from psychiatric hospitals. I have often believed that people dealing with the homeless have been unduly defensive in the sense that we have always argued that because we were trying to get them a right to be housed, we asserted that effectively the only ones we were concerned about were the ones who were not mentally ill, who were not alcholics or who were not mentally handicapped.
It should be said that people who are mentally ill, mentally handicapped or, indeed, who have other ailments are just as entitled to decent accommodation as those who are whole and that the wounded and the whole in our society are not some sort of two different degrees of need or of concern, that whoever is responsible for people who are mentally ill, whether it be the housing or the health authorities, cannot get away from the fact that somewhere it should be written down that any human being, irrespective of his or her physical or mental condition, is entitled to live in dignity in decent accommodation, of a decent standard, with a reasonable aspiration to security in that accommodation.
The report by the inspector of mental hospitals on the largest hospital in the State, which was leaked some weeks ago, would not reassure one that even the so-called caring agencies do a particularly good job of looking after the most vulnerable in our society.
The Dublin Simon Community report goes on:
Impersonal and insensitive arrangements whereby applicants for local authority housing are interviewed through a hatch in a public office so that other applicants overhear details of their personal life.
It is not necessarily relevant to the Bill but that sort of an experience underlines the reason so many voluntary organisations are so sceptical about the effectiveness of this Bill. The organisational system which deals with people like that, the organisational system which does not understand people's need for privacy, which does not understand the urgency of people's needs, cannot really be expected to produce the sort of urgency of response that the prevention of homelessness requires or demands.
That is why I keep on coming back to the fundamental flaw in this Bill, the fact that there is no way of pushing, persuading or coercing a recalcitrant local authority to do anything they do not want to do. It could be done quite simply without any surrender of any principle by simply enabling the Minister to instruct a housing authority, where he was satisfied that there was a homelessness problem, to do all or some of the things they are enabled to do. It would not give people a right to housing, though I believe they should have one. It would at least focus the minds of those who are given the job of making provision at local level on the fact that, if they identify a problem of homelessness, they can either deal with it themselves as they see fit or they can be instructed by the Minister to deal with it. That would go a long way because it would crystalise responsibility and would identify a line of responsibility. Otherwise we will have a very diffuse system where each local authority will respond in their own way and where it will not be possible to enforce other than through long and difficult campaigns the services that are meant to be provided for homeless people.
I am not sure that the only reason for the dilution of the right to shelter in this Bill has to do with policy towards the homeless. I read the debates in the other House and there was a considerable reference to the future housing crisis which we are now effectively guaranteeing because of the reduction in funding for local authority housing. I have figures here which suggest that local authority housing completions in 1980 were 5,984. This rose to 7,002 in 1984. It is estimated to have dropped to 3,400 in 1987 and is estimated to drop to 1,600 in 1988. Those figures are from the Dáil Official Report of 25 November 1987, column 1785.
If you have a drop of almost 5,500 in four years for the maximum provision to what is now envisaged and if that persists for a number of years, quite clearly, even given demographic changes, even given emigration, one will have to accept the fact that we will have somewhere around 200,000 to 250,000 unemployed, an increasing number of old people in our society, a large young population and a large marrying population. That sort of a dramatic drop in local authority housing completions, coupled with the drop in income that unemployment and deflated wages will produce, will mean an astonishingly large housing crisis in a relatively short period.
The Dáil Official Report of 27 April 1988 states:
The allocation for new house starts to Cork Corporation for 1988 is nil, to Dublin Corporation nil, to Galway Corporation nil, to Limerick Corporation nil and to Waterford Corporation nil....
We can see that even the figure of 1,600 for 1988 may well be substantially less in 1989 and 1990. It is difficult, therefore, to see how one can have people who are without shelter, people who are homeless, guaranteed a right to shelter when, in fact, effectively there will not be any local authority housing carried out in the immediate future. I have a funny feeling, even though I am sure the Minister will spiritedly deny it, that there is a connection between the substantial reduction in local authority housing construction and the reluctance to give people any sort of, however qualified, right to shelter. There is a lot that could be said about the problem of homelessness but I have said it on three or four occasions already in this House. I have said it to the Minister and to his officials and there is probably no need to repeat it again. I have spoken at some length on the issue.
I would like to begin to conclude, if I can use that phrase, by talking a bit about some of the things that are in the Bill. The most trenchant and most valid criticism, the best expressed criticism, is that of the Simon Community. Like the Simon Community, I welcome what is positive in the Bill, but I am unhappy with many things that are missing from it. I am not happy that the definition of homeless in section 2 is comprehensive enough. In particular, given my emphasis on prevention of homelessness, which I believe to be the proper way of guaranteeing that we do not have a problem nothing is being done about people who are threatened with homelessness.
It seems entirely ludicrous that you have to wait until people are on the street before the provisions of this Bill, however inadequate I may take them to be, can be implemented. I do not know why it is not possible given the discretionary nature of section 10, to extend it to people whom the local authority view as being threatened with homelessness. Since the local authority are effectively God in relation to what they need to do, they could quite clearly make provision for people who are threatened with homelessness instead of having to wait until people are on the side of the road.
The second concern I have with respect to the Bill relates to sections 8 and 9 in terms of the estimates of housing requirements. I do not understand why we cannot have a guarantee of estimates of housing requirements on a regular basis. Section 9 guarantees that a housing assessment will be carried out not less frequently than every three years. If the housing assessment is being carried out not less frequently than every three years, why not the estimate of housing requirements? It would be logical and sensible to conduct both together and to conduct both with an equal frequency. I also think it is a considerable pity that it is not clear from section 8 or section 9 that the result of the estimate of housing requirements and the housing assessment will be made public.
I cannot understand why it is not clearly written into the Bill that such information should be made public. I invite the Minister to agree with me that it should be published, or to explain why it should not be published. It does not have to be published in any elaborate fashion. There need not be any glossy publications. The scheme of lettings for housing can be inspected by any member of the public at an office of the housing authority — that is contained in a later section of the Bill — and I cannot see why the outcome of these assessments cannot be available for inspection by any member of the public.
I suspect that it is not the intention that this material should be made public. I suspect that parts of it may be made public, that nobody will be too happy with publishing every three years, or whatever it is, measures which show that housing authorities are actually not dealing with the problem, particularly in a period when on the basis of the allocations so far this year, we will not have any new house starts in most of our major urban areas. I have reason to believe nobody really wants to make provision for the publication of this information. Perhaps the Minister can assure me that I am entirely mistaken.
It is a pity also that section 10 does not contain, as I said previously, a guarantee of a response. I am not even talking about a right to housing. One of the interesting things about section 2 is that, notwithstanding my criticisms, it has one very useful aspect to it. It states:
A person shall be regarded by a housing authority as being homeless for the purposes of this Act if there is no accommodation available which, in the opinion of the authority he, together with... might reasonably be expected to reside...
If the person has no accommodation, there is no real opinion that the housing authority can have and, therefore, that person must be regarded as homeless. In many ways that definition of homelessness is more satisfactory than the qualified one contained in the Coalition Government's Bill because it does not enable people to use their own opinions to exclude people from being homeless so they have to accept them as being homeless. The tragedy is that, once they have accepted people as being homeless, they do not necessarily have to do anything about it. That is why the Minister ought to take to himself, either by regulation or in the Bill, the right to direct authorities who have assessed a problem of homelessness on whatever scale it is and who are not doing the things they are entitled to do, to do them.
There is, however, another problem in section 10 to which I direct the Minister's attention and which has not been commented on so far, that is, subsection (8) which states that where accommodation or lodgings are made available to a person by virtue of subsection (1) (a) the circumstances of that person change to the extent that, in the opinion of the housing authority, inter alia, if the accommodation or lodgings being made so available were no longer available, the person would not be homeless, or the person is now able to provide accommodation from his own resources, the authority may cease to have such accommodation or lodgings made so available.
That sounds perfectly reasonable if you are talking about either direct subsidies or local authority housing, but subsection (1) (a) talks about the housing authority making arrangements with a body for the provision by that body of accommodation for a homeless person. It appears that any voluntary organisation who enter into such an arrangement will have surrendered their autonomy to the housing authority because any person they are providing accommodation for whom they deem to be homeless can be put out of that accommodation if the housing authority come to that conclusion.
The autonomy of voluntary organisations will be undermined by what is an unintentional provision of this Bill which will give the housing authority effectively the right to say to a voluntary organisation: "We no longer think that person should be in your accommodation; out he goes".
I do not think that is the intention of the Bill. It is something that should be amended and we can discuss it at some length. The other unfortunate omission, particularly in the area of renting accommodation, arranging lodgings, or contributing to the cost of such accommodation, is the omission of any reference to standards that I could find in the Bill. We have had enough evidence at this stage of the hotel for the homeless syndrome in the United Kingdom, of some of the horrific stuff that was in the Sunday Observer about security staff in the so-called hotels, intimidating children and threatening residents that, if they spoke to the press about the conditions, they would be kicked out of the place. The last people who complained to the press about the conditions of one particular so-called hotel lost their accommodation two days later.
We do not want people getting rich on the backs of the homeless. The way to ensure that is to insist that decent standards be met. Nobody is talking about excessive luxury, but reasonable standards in terms of privacy, sanitation, water, heating, absence of dampness etc. They are reasonable expectations. They are expected in other areas of provision. Local authorities have obligations in many cases to insist on these standards but, whether they enforce them or not, is another matter. That is another unfortunate omission from the Bill.
Senator Fitzsimons said those sort of matters are best dealt with on Committee Stage. I am not sure when we are proposing to have Committee Stage but it is suggested that we might have it tomorrow. I will have a substantial number of amendments on Committee Stage and I expect to have an equally substantial number of amendments on Report Stage. I look forward to the usual quality of reasonable response which the Minister gives to reasonable arguments. It is a great pity that a considerable opportunity was lost to write into our legislation the right to shelter, to write into our legislation a guarantee that nobody who is homeless and who has not got the means to provide for himself or herself, should live on the side of the road.
The problem about this Bill and the most upsetting part of it is that it accepts implicitly that people in our society will continue to live on the side of the road. If it is wrong for people to live on the side of the road, if it is wrong for people to live in the sort of accommodation provided in the night shelters I am most familiar with, it should be our objective to end it. You cannot end it by hoping that something will happen or by promising that you will do your best to see that it will happen. You can only end it by guaranteeing that people will do something else. That has been the considered view of every voluntary organisation in the country, every voluntary organisation that I am aware of in the United Kingdom and every voluntary organisation I have had any contact with in the rest of the European Communities. It is also the view of many of those dealing with the homeless in the States, that you cannot do it either by market forces or by expressions of goodwill. What provision there is for homeless people in New York city was fought for through the courts and the courts accepted that the State had an obligation to make provision for people.
There is a body of legal opinion which suggests that there is an implied right to shelter in our Constitution. It may well be that, if we do not succeed in getting the guarantee written into legislation, we may perhaps have to pursue the constitutional route. That is one of the reasons I regret the fact that, after so much hard work, so much effort and so much thought on his part, somehow or other this Minister's good intentions were deflected and that a Bill that starts well and goes on well, ends so poorly with such a weak provision at the end of so much in terms of effort, definition and intent. Nobody I know in the voluntary sector, dealing with the homeless, believes that this Bill will make a fundamental difference. They believe it is a representation of thinking. They believe it is a step forward but they do not believe it is the sort of necessary dramatic shift in priority which would be needed to deal with the problems of the homeless.
I want to compliment the Minister for the things he has done which are very worth while. I want to qualify heavily that compliment by saying that I believe section 10, as it stands, will not have the desired effect in local authority areas, where either housing, or funds, or goodwill, or all three of them or any of the three of them are in short supply. Even if there is goodwill there, the fact that no specification as to minimum standards is written into the Bill will leave homeless people open to provision in very inadequate accommodation. Therefore, I appeal to the Minister to consider at least some amendments to section 10. In order to facilitate those of us who want to ensure that local authorities do what they are enabled to do, I ask the Minister to ensure that the results of the surveys under sections 8 and 9 would be made public so that we can at least evaluate in an objective way the performance of the housing authorities.