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Restore levels of housing benefit to ‘end homelessness for good’ - Crisis

The government is being urged to restore the levels of housing benefit, otherwise known as Local Housing Allowance (LHA), so they truly cover market rents in order to prevent thousands of tenants from becoming homeless. 

Crisis estimates that more than 6,000 households could be prevented from being pushed into homelessness and more than 35,000 children lifted out of poverty in the next three years in the UK if the government restored levels of LHA. 

As part of Crisis’ Cover the Cost campaign, fresh research released today, conducted by Alma Economics, outlines the three-year cost and benefit analysis of a government investment of £3.3bn in LHA for immediate net benefits of £2.1bn. 

More specifically, the charity is calling for £820m in the next year as part of upcoming spending decisions.

It is estimated that lifting the benefits freeze and investing in LHA would cover the cost of the cheapest 30% of market rents. 

Restored levels of LHA would also help those already homeless to afford a rented home.

Alongside the immediate net benefits of £2.1bn over the three years, the research suggests that this would also give the government time to build a sufficient supply of truly affordable housing in the years to come whilst ensuring that homelessness across the country does not continue to rise.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “Everyone in our society should have the means to rent a safe, stable home where they can build their lives. But every day at Crisis, we hear of the agonising stress and anxiety people face, unable to afford their rent and keep the roof over their head. Right now people are losing their homes and being left trapped in homelessness, unable to get back into adequate housing. We have to stop this happening.

“The UK government has made commitments to end rough sleeping and reduce homelessness, but without addressing the root causes behind homelessness, it will sadly continue to rise. Long-term solutions like building more affordable social homes will take time so in the meantime, investing in LHA, so it covers the true cost of rents, provides the quickest and most effective opportunity to help those already homeless back into housing and for thousands more, prevent it from happening in the first place.

“Over the coming weeks, we urge the government to prioritise investment in Local Housing Allowance as part of its upcoming spending decisions – this research makes a clear-cut case that doing so will have an immediate financial and human impact. Ending homelessness for good is truly within our capabilities but will only be made possible by taking steps like this.”

LHA is the housing benefit aspect of Universal Credit, providing support to those on low incomes who are unable to meet the cost of private rent. LHA rates were originally set to ensure the recipient could afford the cheapest third of properties in their area, meaning most were able to access a safe and stable home to build their lives in.

But following a series of cuts to LHA over the years – including a four-year freeze from 2016 – the rates are not keeping up with the cost of rents in most areas across the country, meaning safe, affordable housing is becoming increasingly difficult to find.  With families and individuals often accumulating debt having to make up the shortfall between their LHA and rent, this mounting financial pressure means they are easily forced out of their home and into homelessness.

Crisis is now calling on the government to commit to restoring the LHA rates so that they cover the true cost of rent.

Terrie Alafat CBE, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, commented: “The Chartered Institute of Housing is pleased to join Crisis and so many other organisations in calling on the government to restore local housing allowance to cover the most affordable 30% of rents. 

"It is a national shame that thousands of families face being made homeless and councils are spending £1bn a year on temporary accommodation because LHA is failing to do its job. Addressing this issue will bring the government significant savings in the benefit bill, as well as giving some of our most vulnerable fellow-citizens a more secure environment in which to live.

"A staggering 97% of private rents in England are currently simply unaffordable under benefit rules. This leaves thousands of families having to choose between paying their rent and feeding their children. The social and economic cost of this broken system simply cannot be justified."

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    Councils guarantee their clients they want us professional LLs to rent Our properties to. Pay the rent direct to us Monthly in advance. Inspect Our properties with us every 3 months. Eviction immediately antisocal behaviour starts, drug use, criminal acts cover the cost of repairing our property trashed by their client and then just maybe i might consider renting to a person on benefits. Thankfully it will never happen.

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    One other point, dont charge Full council tax while we repair Our property to a fit state to relet. Reduce to 50% or remove altogether whilst works carried out.

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    I think the government will prefer the easy cheaper option and hammer landlords on their no DSS policies so they take them regardless and just deal with the arrears !

  • Paul Barrett

    It is all complete and utter twaddle
    People choose to be homeless.
    They could easily move to cheaper areas but refuse to do so.
    Mostly these cheaper areas are up North so that is where HB tenants should go.
    There is no shortage of affordable rental properties up North.
    It is just TOUGH if HB tenants have to change their domestic circumstances to move to affordable properties.
    There is no way that property building will cope with MASS UNCONTROLLED IMMIGRATION until the borders are closed.
    There is no way that HB should be increased to match market rents in the SE.
    There should be a massive decanting of HB in the SE to the North.
    These tenants can't be bothered to work as if they did they could avoid the OBC by just doing 16 hrs of alleged work.
    Selling the Big Issue counts as work.
    Do just 16 hrs of selling the BI and all the benefits you want await you!!
    Which is why 90% of BI sellers are now Romanian gypsies.
    They know how to work the system!!
    The feckless who can't be bothered to work should move up North to solve their homelessness in the SE.
    Once they have been up North for 6 months they will have lost their Local Connection and can be prevented from receiving HB in the SE.
    Which would be excellent news.
    The UK economy can really do without the feckless welfare scroungers receiving expensive HB in the SE.
    There is no need for them to be in the SE as they AREN'T going to bother trying to work FULL-TIME.
    FAR fewer LL are now prepared to accept HB tenants
    The hassle of taking them on irrespective of the fact that they can't afford market rents is a massive disincentive for LL to take on HB tenants
    There is no way that Govt will ever be able to force LL to take on HB tenants.

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    You appear to be a real racist.

     
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    I cant understand why its not allowed to say that immigration should be controlled. Its sensible. I don't think its racist to say that. Every other western nation on earth has an immigration policy. If free movement went unchallenged where would these people live?We don't have enough property, infrastructure or industry to cater for mass free movement hence why we had a referendum that went Brexit.
    Why can't we just decide on who we want to invite to live and work in the UK & not accept the dross.

     
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    Joke yes. evicting another on Thursday 8 weeks in arrears buy buy

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    Learn to spell you fool. Try bye bye.

     
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    If 300, 000 more people enter the UK each year - that means approx 90,000 housing units extra or more are required each year. Employers want cheap imported labour and ordinary folk have their wages undercut and their jobs outsourced abroad. Housing benefit is one of the largest welfare elements which we can ill afford. Never mind the costs of extra school places, NHS waiting times and congested transport. So just continue to have a problem. Well off politicians are distant from any of the consequences of their liberal policies. They are OK.

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    If 300, 000 more people enter the UK each year - that means approx 90,000 housing units extra or more are required each year. Employers want cheap imported labour and ordinary folk have their wages undercut and their jobs outsourced abroad. Housing benefit is one of the largest welfare elements which we can ill afford. Never mind the costs of extra school places, NHS waiting times and congested transport. So just continue to have a problem. Well off politicians are distant from any of the consequences of their liberal policies. They are OK.

  • Paul Barrett

    @Paul Robinson
    Are you some sort of looney!!!!??
    Never have I heard any description of deporting HB tenants to cheaper areas more in accordance with their HB affordability as RACIST!!
    WHAT has racism got to do with inability of HB tenants to meet their rental commitments
    As far as I am aware UK welfare policy is not based on race; colour or creed!!
    If it was then indeed it would be incorrectly racist and would be a breach of the Race Relations Act
    HB policy ignore the ethnicity of any claimant.
    So no idea what you are on about.
    Any HB tenant should be subject to the same financial pressures as anyone not in receipt of HB.
    HB tenants certainly shouldn't be receiving what a working person receives in wages otherwise there is no incentive to work.
    The welfare classes should never be receiving sufficient welfare to make it not worth working.
    If I had my way I would reduce the OBC to £15000 which is still equivalent to a £20000 gross wage far more than many full time workers earn annually.
    I would also ensure 25 hrs of work was required to avoid the OBC.
    It is irrelevant what the ethnic makeup is if any HB tenants forced to move to cheaper areas.
    Affordability is a dynamic continually changing and it is just tough s### if this causes domestic upheaval.
    It is something that any of those not on welfare experience all the time.
    Perhaps you were referring to which part of the community sell the BI.
    It is simply a fact that 90% of the sellers are Romanian gypsies.
    That is not any commentary on that ethnic group.
    Just that they are savvy enough to know how to work the system.
    I commend them for their ability to abuse the welfare system.
    I would do exactly as they do if I needed to.
    It is not racist pointing out such expertise shown by certain community members.

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    Joke yes. evicting another on Thursday 8 weeks in arrears buy buy


    Paul Robinson
    02 September 2019 11:17 AM

    Learn to spell you fool. Try bye bye.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    I made a mistake in the post I made. However I will not apologise for my dyslexia. Up until the age of 35 it was not diagnosed. The teachers at school constantly told me I was lazy and as a result they continued to hit me. So I lost interest in school... Do you people here make fun when you see someone with mental illness I guess you do Dyslexia isn't a mental illness by the way I am not an idiot and not a fool and not stupid. I merely processed data differently to those of you who consider yourself normal. And as a result my spelling is crap and it hurts on a daily basis. It is so easy to pull people to pieces when you're not face-to-face.My wife would usually see my spelling was right but she is out today

    Paul Barrett

    I wish I was dyslexic!
    It is well known than those suffering with dyslexia are prone to be a lot cleverer than those of us who AREN'T victims of this condition.
    They especially seem to be very creative.
    Dyslexia is certainly NOTHING to be ashamed of!
    There are benefits to having it.
    It seems people like you are a lot cleverer than most other people.
    I do believe Einstein was dyslexic!!!!!

     
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    Mate my spelling and grammar is rubbish as well and do know what I don't care, it certainly has not stopped me being successful in business, I don't get upset when people take the ''P'' I just laugh at them.

     
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    Thank you Paul . you dont want to be dyslexic the words people call you hurt .. thanks again

  • Paul Barrett

    @jahsn khan
    Yep you are totally correct.
    Australia and NZ have a controlled immigration policy.
    Nobody ever calls them racist for having an immigration policy based on meritocracy.
    A UK immigration policy would not be based on race so by implication cannot ever be a racist policy.
    The UK must have the freedom to choose the migrants that it wants.
    Such a policy would be designed to facilitate the immigration of those skilled workers that the UK economy needs.
    Limited temporary migration needed for seasonal work with those workers returning home should be allowed providing they have NO access to the NHS or welfare system.
    The UK must not have a racist immigration policy.
    Choosing on the basis of merit is the way a UK immigration policy should be formulated.
    It is for the UK elected Govt to determine which workers merit admittance to the UK something that could never be achieved whilst in the EU.
    BrExit is worth it just to achieve this policy.

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