Charity has concerns welfare reform is increasing homelessness

Charity Homeless Link is concerned that welfare reform could be driving an increase in homelessness - as new figures show an alarming rise in cases of people losing their homes.

The charity was responding to government statistics that show 12,860 people were accepted as homeless in 2012's second quarter - a 9% rise on the same period in 2011.

This situation is the most dire in London, where homelessness figures have shot up by 27%.

The number of people finding themselves homeless because they have had to leave privately rented accommodation is at its highest for 14 years.

According to Homeless Link's analysis of 2012's second quarter, of the 26,800 applications that were made for help, 52% were turned down. The charity also found that 64% of households accepted as homeless included dependent children.

Responding to the statistics, Rick Henderson Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said: "The recession and the high cost of living continues to fuel homelessness. We’re also concerned that welfare reform could be adding to the numbers, with landlords less willing to rent to those on housing benefit.

“Becoming homeless shouldn’t be inevitable if you lose your job, can’t afford your rent or fall into difficulty. We need urgent action to keep more people in their homes.

“The Government recently called on every council to provide a ‘gold standard’ when it comes to homelessness advice, help and support. This is a standard that should apply to everyone – including the many single adults who councils do not have a duty to house.

“We need local government to rise to this challenge, to prevent people finding themselves with nowhere to live and the damage this causes to individuals and society.

“However national government also needs to review the impact that welfare reform could be having.” 


Mary Latham

All this is before Universal Credit even begins! Landlords are not refusing to take people on benefits, landlords are refusing to get involved with a system that might put the future of our business in jeopardy. When Government get the message that landlords are in business to do business not to become part of Social Services we might begin to see less people without a home. Until then I fear that these figures are just the tip of the iceberg. By all means make cut backs in benefits and ensure that our tax pounds are only going to help those in genuine need but when a person is entitled to public funds to pay for their home those funds must go to the people who provide those homes - The Landlord. Follow me on Twitter @landlordtweets

Aki Ellahi

I agree Mary, the private rented sector had to suffer in 2008 when Local Housing Allowance (LHA) was introduced. This scared landlords to death, but however as a community landlords and agents worked together to devise a solution to LHA, the clear division between DWP benefits and LHA allowed this to happen. The consolidation of all benefits for Universal Credit being introduced next year coupled with the £500 weekly benefit cap also is going to make it impossible for DSS tenants to live in London and l can also see this figure going one way.


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