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BENEFIT CUTS WILL INCREASE HOMELESS LEVELS

BENEFIT CUTS WILL INCREASE HOMELESS LEVELS (Refuge / Emergency Accommodation)

by administrator @, Thursday, July 21, 2011, 09:49

BENEFIT CUTS WILL INCREASE HOMELESS LEVELS BETWEEN 25-34 YEAR OLDS

A housing benefit cut that will hit 62,500 25-34 year-olds will lead to an increase in homelessness, independent research undertaken by York University has revealed.

Undertaken on behalf of Crisis, the report examines the impact of Government proposals to extend a lower rate of housing benefit, the Shared Accommodation Rate, to cover people aged up to 35. Currently 25-34 year-olds are allowed to claim housing benefit based on the cost of renting a one-bedroom flat. Under changes proposed by the Coalition from 2012 they will only be able to claim enough for a room in a shared house.

The research reveals that there is not enough shared accommodation available. Those affected will therefore be at high risk of becoming homeless.

Leslie Morphy, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: "This research comes to some very worrying conclusions. Slashing housing benefit for 25-34 year-olds will be a disaster for tens of thousands of people, many of whom will end up sleeping on our streets because they simply have nowhere else to go. The Government must heed the mounting evidence that they need to rethink this cut."

The research analysed housing statistics and interviewed benefit claimants who will be affected, claimants who already live in shared accommodation and organisations that specialise in finding accommodation for them.

Key findings include that less than 1 in 20 households in the private rented sector share and shared accommodation is in short supply for those on benefits - schemes working with young people already struggle to find accommodation.

Competition for shared accommodation from other groups (eg would be first time buyers) is growing meaning landlords are even less likely to rent to benefit claimants. Difficulties with other tenants' anti-social behaviour and a high turnover of tenants can create stress and issues around personal security.

Shared accommodation is often particularly inappropriate for vulnerable people such as those who have been homeless, those with mental health problems or those fleeing domestic violence leaving them open to exploitation and often having a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing.

The extension of the SAR is not a family friendly policy - living in shared accommodation can prevent parents who do not have main custody maintaining good relationships with their children.

Crisis is calling for the Government to rethink the cut, or at the very least to bring in exemptions for the most vulnerable groups affected, such as former rough sleepers, disabled people or those with mental health problems.

www.crisis.org.uk

Tags:
benefit cuts


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