Benefit cap to force families from temporary homes
A London borough has found hundreds of families in temporary accommodation in its area could be made homeless by the government’s welfare reforms.
Haringey Council is warning that up to 800 families in private rented housing and 300 families in social rented housing could be forced out when the £500 a week benefit cap is introduced in 2013.
The government is currently reviewing the subsidy regime for temporary accommodation, but has said it wants to bring temporary accommodation rents in line with local housing allowance payments – which go to eligible households in the private rented sector – by the time the benefit cap is introduced.
Haringey has evaluated the impact on temporary accommodation of the introduction of the benefit cap under universal credit, and caps on LHA payments and changes to the way it is calculated.
As well as the rise in homelessness it is also predicting around £6 million of the council’s temporary accommodation rent would not be collected in 2013/14, rising to £10 million in 2014/15.
The evaluation, which was presented by Haringey’s deputy director of community housing services Phil Harris at a seminar run by Home Connections, states: ‘The overall benefits cap will double the number of families that become homeless each year and will make it a lot harder for the council to meet the housing needs not just of homeless families but also tenants living in severely overcrowded social rented housing.
‘For a large number of families that are not working, the overall benefits cap will put most private rented accommodation – and the majority of family homes offered under the affordable rent model – beyond reach.’
The government has previously said that the £26,000 cap to benefits will save money and bring fairness to the benefits system as workless households will not be able to receive more than the average working household receives in pay.