Londoners face homelessness crisis due to housing benefit freeze

Londoners face homelessness crisis due to housing benefit freeze

0:03 AM, 9th November 2023, About 7 months ago 9

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Up to 60,000 Londoners who rent privately are at risk of becoming homeless in the next six years unless the government increases the housing benefit they receive, a new report warns.

The report, commissioned by London Councils, a cross-party group representing the 32 boroughs and the City of London, estimates that between 16,500 and 22,000 households in the capital will lose their homes by 2030 if the government maintains the freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

LHA was frozen in 2016 and has not kept up with rising rents in London, where one in seven private renters rely on it.

The report, by Alma Economics, also found that raising LHA to cover at least 30% of local market rents would save the public sector more than £100m a year in the capital, mainly by reducing the demand for homelessness services provided by the boroughs.

‘Raising Local Housing Allowance is vital’

London Councils’ executive member for regeneration, housing and planning, Cllr Darren Rodwell, said: “Raising Local Housing Allowance is vital for getting a grip on the homelessness crisis.

“London’s homelessness pressures are already enormous and unsustainable. On current trends, almost 60,000 more London renters are set to become homeless in the coming years.

“London is the epicentre of the national homelessness crisis.”

He added: “The situation is increasingly unmanageable and requires urgent government action. We cannot continue in this disastrous direction.

“Just as the government boosted LHA during the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent a wave of mass homelessness, we need a similar emergency response to the situation today.

“An increase in LHA will help low-income households pay their rents and avoid homelessness, which can be so devastating to families and bring massive costs to local services.”

Urging the government to end the freeze on LHA

London Councils is urging the government to end the freeze on LHA and restore its link to local rents in its upcoming Autumn Statement, which will set out future spending plans.

The group says that homelessness is already a major challenge in London, which accounts for more than half of England’s total number of homeless households in temporary accommodation.

According to the latest figures from London Councils, nearly 170,000 Londoners are currently homeless and living in temporary accommodation arranged by their local authority. This includes around 28,000 children.

The group warns that the situation is becoming increasingly unmanageable and that the boroughs are set to overspend their homelessness budgets by £90m this year.

The report also highlights the turbulence in the capital’s private rented sector (PRS), which is a key factor behind the growing numbers of homeless Londoners.

Separate research commissioned by London Councils and published in July, showed a 41% drop in private rental listings in London since 2020, with a corresponding 20% increase in listed rents.

As a result, only 2.3% of London listings on Rightmove in 2022-23 were affordable to those using LHA to pay their rent, compared to 18.9% in 2020-21.


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Comments

Monty Bodkin

9:13 AM, 9th November 2023, About 7 months ago

To put it more accurately;

"Londoners face homelessness due to landlord bashing."

Cause and effect.

Reluctant Landlord

9:36 AM, 9th November 2023, About 7 months ago

why London centric? The issue with the LHA rate is the same everywhere and the effects are the same.

There is I would argue there is nowhere to rent, anywhere in the land where private rents match the local LHA. Top ups to be paid to meet the full rent is inevitable.

The post states the LHA rates help families to pay their rents - how about making sure that the DWP who pays it actually pays the LL directly in all circumstances regardless?

Rent arrears in the main would therefore be avoided (or at least minimised) in the first instance and so reduce the amount who are evicted for rent arrears/S21.

The government have a cock-eyed view on trying to prevent a situation getting any worse when the actual preventative answer is starting them in the face.

Easy rider

10:24 AM, 9th November 2023, About 7 months ago

Always seems odd that unemployed people are paid to live in London yet those that serve them with in local shops have to commute many miles because they cannot afford to live in London.

Perhaps the levelling up programme could see LHA rates standardised across the U.K.? High LHAs in London help to fuel the house prices in London

Mick Roberts

10:25 AM, 9th November 2023, About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 09/11/2023 - 09:13
Ha ha well said Monty

Jack Craven

11:26 AM, 9th November 2023, About 7 months ago

I agree that the LHA should be raised but that won't help the 170.000 currently homeless.

Easy rider

16:47 PM, 9th November 2023, About 7 months ago

Raising LHA fuels higher rents and higher house prices.

Of course, LHA should rise whenever governments introduce more expenses for landlords because rents will rise. I don’t believe LHA should be a lifestyle choice. Claimants should be policed correctly.

GlanACC

16:52 PM, 9th November 2023, About 7 months ago

If you are living in temporary accomodation then you are not homeless.

Easy rider

19:44 PM, 9th November 2023, About 7 months ago

𝐋𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐬 𝐝𝐮𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐦𝐢𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧

Fixed it.

Reluctant Landlord

17:20 PM, 10th November 2023, About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by GlanACC at 09/11/2023 - 16:52
technically true but that is irrelevant if you are Shelter shouting the odds from the rooftop!

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