Saturday, 25 June 2016

Fund for yourself

‘One night only’ homeless shelters are not entitled to housing benefit, and this is unlikely to change, warns Giles Peaker

Despite a letter from the Communities and Local Government department and the Department for Work and Pensions to local authorities, it is still the case that homeless shelters that operate on a ‘one night only’ basis, with no guaranteed right to return, no access to facilities during the day and nowhere to store belongings, will not receive housing benefit.

The joint note, which sought to clarify the impact of a case in Anglesey last year - in which a judge found the council wasn’t liable to pay housing benefit to a claimant because a shelter wasn’t his permanent dwelling - has been taken more positively than is justified. All the note does is confirm that the Anglesey judgement was correct and that the government will be taking no steps to change housing benefit regulations. The note says that benefit would still be payable to shelters where the regime would meet the requirement of being the claimant’s ‘home’. Optimistically, the note suggests this would be ‘the majority’ of shelters, but there are no figures to support that assertion.

Any shelter with a similar regime to that in the Anglesey case will not be able to receive housing benefit. The note suggests that this should always have been the case, suggesting that councils that did pay housing benefit to such shelters may have difficulties in recouping it.

Councils who have not yet pulled housing benefit from such shelters, will very likely do so after reading the government note. Lord David Freud in parliament made clear that local authorities will be expected to find funding for such shelters from Supporting People or homeless prevention budgets instead.

Giles Peaker is a partner at Anthony Gold Solicitors
giles.peaker@anthonygold.co.uk

Readers' comments (1)

Comments are only open to subscribers of Inside Housing

Already a subscriber?

If you’re already a subscriber to Inside Housing, your subscription may not be linked to your online account. You can link your subscription from within the My Account section of the website and clicking on Link My Account.

Not yet a subscriber?

If you don't yet subscribe to Inside Housing, please visit our subscription page to view our various subscription packages.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up

Related

Articles

  • Build it yourself

    11 March 2016

    There is a lot to be learned from collective community efforts worldwide for solving London’s housing crisis, says Jamie Ratcliff

  • £50m infrastructure fund announced

    29 February 2016

    The Scottish Government has announced a £50m infrastructure fund to speed up the construction of affordable and private homes.

  • Sheffield to push for housing investment fund

    6 October 2015

    The Sheffield City Region Combined Authority will receive a swathe of planning powers under a proposed devolution deal and will push for the ability to create a housing investment fund.

  • Do it yourself

    30 September 2015

    The UK could be doing much more in the way of self-build, says Ted Stevens

  • Call for ringfenced empty homes fund

    15 September 2015

    A charity has called on the government to reinstate ringfenced pots of money for bringing empty homes back into use.

IH Subscription