Thousands of young people face losing their home with benefit cuts
Thousands of residents face losing their homes as a result of a cut in housing benefit, a homeless charity has claimed.
Crisis said that proposals to extend the Shared Accommodation Rate of housing benefit for those renting in the private sector to include people aged 25-34 could increase homelessness.
From January 2012 single people aged between 25 and 34 will only be able to claim housing benefit based on the cost of a room in shared house, rather than a modest one bed flat. This restriction currently applies to all single people under 25-years-old.
According to the Department for Works and Pensions, London will be hit hardest financially with 380 single people in Camden likely to lose £116-a-week while 720 in Brent will lose £111-a-week.
Liverpool Council will have the most people affected 1,450 losing £34-a-week.
Birmingham Council is next with 1,410 people losing £38-a-week and Leeds Council third with 1,270 people losing £22-a-week.
Leslie Morphy, Crisis chief executive, said: ‘It will lead to thousands of people losing their homes and we are extremely concerned that some won’t be able to find any anywhere else to live.
‘It will also stop homeless people in hostels from being able to move on into a more settled home, leading to a shortage of bed places in supported accommodation at a time of cuts and rising homelessness.’
A DWP spokesperson said: ‘Our Housing Benefit reforms are not designed to force people out of their homes. They are about restoring fairness to a system which has spiralled out of control and ensuring that benefit claimants make the same choices about affordability as everyone else.
‘Nearly two thirds of people currently in receipt of the Shared Accommodation Rate would be entitled to the one bedroom rate if they decided to live in self-contained accommodation. This shows that many of these people actually choose to share accommodation with others.
‘People in the most vulnerable situations will remain exempt, and those not exempt can be considered for extra help from the additional £130m is being made available through the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme to help smooth the transition of the Housing Benefit changes.’