NINE out of 10 councils warn more people in their area on the lowest incomes will become homeless due to the freeze on housing benefit.
Cuts to housing benefit have been happening over the past eight years.
Getty – Contributor Seven out of 10 councils saw a rise in demand for homelessness services
It means many can’t afford to pay their rent, leaving them living on a knife edge.
These are the findings of a report that questioned 167 local authorities in England between October and November 2018.
Councils are finding themselves under more pressure.
Seven out of 10 report a rise in demand for their homelessness services in the last year alone.
More than three quarters of councils in the North and the Midlands saw a rise in the need for their services.
Eight out of 10 councils in London suffer the same situation.
One local authority in London said: “We have been a Universal Credit Area for the last 24 months and we can testify that homelessness increased due to the introduction of the Welfare Reforms and the introduction of Universal Credit.”
Another local authority in the South of England said: “…the LHA freeze has been a huge factor in the increase in homelessness.”
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, said: “This can’t go on.”
“No one should have to face impossible choices like buying food and essentials or paying their rent.”
Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation are calling for the government to bring back Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates in Universal Credit to make sure they cover rent costs.
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Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said: “For too many people, the prospect of a stable home is a distant dream.”
“We know there is action we can take to fix the problem, starting by ensuring housing, social security and work offer reliable routes out of poverty.”
“The government must also take action for the long term by investing in the low cost rented homes the country badly needs”.
Meanwhile, another charity has warned that Universal Credit errors are pushing people in to debt.
Sadly, Universal Credit is also being being blamed for food bank usage hitting a record high.
If you want to know the basics, here’s what Universal Credit is, who’s eligible to claim it, and how the benefits system has changed.
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