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CUTS COULD LEAD TO NEW HOMELESS (Refuge / Emergency Accommodation)

by administrator @, Thursday, April 21, 2011, 14:05


Crisis has published a new national survey that supports its fears that many of the 88,000 people affected by the Government's latest planned cut in housing benefit could become homeless if the change goes ahead.

The Government is rushing through changes to extend the 'Shared Accommodation Rate' to 25-34 year-olds, which will see an average cut in housing benefit of £47 a week, as their benefits will only cover the cost of a room in a shared house, instead of a self-contained flat.

Crisis has called for the Government to rethink the proposed change. The charity says this drastic cut in housing benefit will force people out of their homes and in many cases people will become homeless. It says evidence suggests that vulnerable people, including former rough sleepers, are at particularly high risk of being made homeless again, as forcing them to share is inappropriate.

The survey of housing professionals in local authorities and the voluntary sector published today reveals: 87% of those surveyed said they already have difficulty finding appropriate properties for people currently on the Shared Accommodation Rate (under 25s); 72% said that there is not enough shared accommodation available in their local area; around 63% of those surveyed said that there is a higher risk of tenancies breaking down in shared properties.

In total, 95% of front-line housing professionals expressed concerns about the proposed change, including that it will cause increased homelessness, higher costs for local authorities and increase hardship and destitution.

Leslie Morphy, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: "Many of the front-line housing professionals we surveyed expect the Government's proposed cut to result in a rise in street homelessness. Up to 88,000 people are at risk of losing their homes due to this ill-conceived proposal. People aged 25-34 will be forced to move out of their homes into shared accommodation that is often unsuitable for their needs or which doesn't exist."

Crisis is calling for the Government to rethink this punitive cut now and at least exempt vulnerable groups. 25-34 year olds are already disproportionately likely to end up sleeping rough, and make up 34% of Crisis's clients. The charity is writing to MPs and Government Ministers to share its concerns and the survey's findings.

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