Sunday, 01 March 2015

Sharp rise in the number of tenants struggling with the basic costs of living

Landlords hand out food parcels to tenants

Social landlords are increasingly having to provide food parcels for residents struggling to meet rising living costs as austerity bites.

Housing associations and councils have reported a sharp rise in the number of tenants struggling to make ends meet over the past few months.

Carol Carter, director of housing at 48,000-home Hyde Group, said: ‘Hyde is seeing an increase in some customers having difficulties purchasing basic household goods, including food.’

Hyde became a registered distributor of food vouchers with charity the Trussell Trust for the first time in the summer. The association has since distributed more than 50 vouchers to tenants and plans to work with more food banks to meet ‘growing need’.

Similarly 57,000-home, Affinity Sutton has sent 40 food parcels with charity the Hope Foundation and Bromley Food Bank over the past month. The association has arranged a further 62 packages to be sent out over Christmas.

Keith Exford, chief executive of Affinity Sutton, said many of the recipients were employed people in low-paid jobs. He warned the government’s plans to cap rises in most working-age benefits, including local housing allowance, to 1 per cent, will exacerbate the problem.

Mr Exford said: ‘We are finding an increasing number of residents are reliant on food banks to help feed themselves.’

Bradford-based Incommunities is donating £1,000 in cash and food to a food bank after staff noticed an increase in demand.

Nigel Minto, head of housing at London Councils, said there had ‘definitely’ been a rise in food banks and authorities were thinking about what they could to do to help.

Thurrock Council in Essex plans to make a building available as a permanent base for use by a food bank to help it cope with the greater demand for food parcels. Increased demand across the UK has led the Trussell Trust to feed 110,000 people in the first six months of 2012/13 compared to 128,697 in the whole of 2011/12.

Readers' comments (11)

  • This will become increasingly common, especially as rents are rising and are designed to rise in a regulated way to create parity across the rented sector, wages unfortunately are not rising as fast as rent, along with eye watering utility and fuel bills, this is making housing unaffordable, so it is eat or roof as the new conundrum!

    Council Officials, Ministers and all the vested interests witter on about "Affordable Housing" What is affordable housing? Well the powers that be consider it is somewhere with a purchase cost, or rent that doesn't swallow up most of someones salary, but they conveniently forget, that not only is the rent mortgage cost significant, the hidden cost like council tax is one way of making the affordable unaffordable, due to the iniquitous banding system, as a new build may be 2 bands higher than a similar older property, so the council tax compounded by the rent, and utility bills makes that affordable home unaffordable to the low paid worker.

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  • My concern is that once Universal Credit arrives in October next year,with tenants receiving their HB direct rent arrears will become the norm rather than the exception. Then, will RSL landlords give food parcels to those families who are up to date with rents. Inevitably litigation for unlawful discrimination claims against Landlords will increase substantially. Leading to the withdrawal of this vital supply of food to those in poverty.m

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  • Rick Campbell

    In Manchester and here in Cheshire; Universal Credit descends on us in April .... oh, what joy that will be.

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  • Thank you Terry Craven.

    It wouldn't be the Inside Housing comments section without someone taking a news article like this and somehow making out the Landlords to be the bad guys.

    Although I do have to question the logic of your hugely assumptive conclusion. Surely those in rent arrears would be spending the money elsewhere, and therefore likely already spent their money on food and thus won't need food banks.

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  • Aside from evidence of gross breach of trust by those 'entrusted' to administer our public wealth, this measure enables discrimination against certain tenants to a life-threatening degree. Surely it is outrageous that working people cannot afford to feed themselves and families? Whilst the criminals gorge out on $800 Trillions worth of Libor fraud, plus VAT on everything, backhanders, bribes and ever increasing taxation promised under 'carbon taxes' which are basically a tax on breath. Plenty of tenants will starve to death if they have to rely on social landlords for food!

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  • electric monk

    A disgrace that this role is needed in one of the WEALTHIEST nations in the world in 2012.

    What the hell are the government spending all the money on...

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  • Tony Cook

    It's almost an argument for the re-introduction of ration books.

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  • re Electric Monk,

    How about Europe and immigration - ie benefits for our economic migrant friends - and legal costs in fighting spurious 'illegal' appeals?????

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  • Chris

    Good point Gordon - those near bankrupt European states probably can't afford to keep paying benefits to the Brits who went there for a better life, for a better paid job, or simply for a cheap bit of housing to call their own only to find they were hit by the world-wide recession and unable to fund their way home. Perhaps the British Government should organise a way to ship them all home so they can add to the dole queues and housing queues here. At last count, for instance, there were nearly 1/4 million Brits trapped in Spain without means to support themselves, or able to abandon or sell their property.

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  • It's all to do with 'control' the more i learn about the financial systems and how it evolved the more i lose sight of this invisible power.

    It seems that the 'food' industry will have the control over nations instead of weapons of destruction we will be controlled by the food industry it maybe starting in small ways with landlords feeding the flock

    looking for solutions to this fearful growing dilemma will be like looking for water in a running stream.

    there is no justice now only survival of the powerful.

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