Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Housing benefit cuts could increase homelessness

Homeless woman with dogsCrisis has produced a national survey supporting its fear that many of the 88,000 people affected by the Government's planned cut in housing benefit could become homeless if this goes ahead.

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

Between 7 and 13 April Crisis surveyed housing advisers across Britain about the impact of the current SAR on their work and clients, and their thoughts about the consequences of extending this rate to single people aged 25 to 34.

Summary of findings

  • 87% said there would be difficulty finding appropriate properties for people on the revised rate
  • 74% said there would be difficulty housing clients for whom sharing is not appropriate 
  • 74% said that the current SAR is a serious barrier to their work with under 25s, or that they do not work with this age group because of it
  • 4% said they have no clients who will be affected by the change
  • 62% felt there would be a higher risk of tenancies breaking down
Crisis would like the Government to rethink its plans, making the point that 25-34 year olds already make up 34% of its clients.

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