70,000 crisis fund requests rejected by councils
- 09 May
It has been revealed that English councils have rejected over 70,000 applications for emergency housing assistance last year, however £9m of funding was given back to the government.
Inside Housing has conducted research which reveals that 153 councils underspent their discretionary housing payment allocations last year, whilst others turned away thousands of applicants whilst still spending over their allocated amount.
Responses by 203 councils to freedom of information requests showed 249,457 applications for DHP were received in 2013/14. Of these, 70,486 were refused, with 41,639 of the rejections made by councils which spent at least 95 per cent of their allocations.
Policy officer at the Chartered Institute of Housing, Sam Lister, has said that the way DHP allocations were calculated gave northern councils smaller pots.
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "Last year we gave local authorities £190 million to help people through the introduction of our reforms - including a £20m top-up fund which councils could bid for. Only around a quarter of them applied, leaving £7m unspent, so we're confident the funding was sufficient. Our reforms are bringing fairness back to a social housing system in which around 300,000 families were living in overcrowded conditions while over 800,000 bedrooms went spare. There are a range of reasons why individuals may have had their application for a payment turned down and it's wrong to assume that everyone who applies should get a payment. It is also misleading to make comparisons between councils which have significantly different numbers of people affected and where rents differ significantly."
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Revenue Optimisation "Coventry Mind has recently worked through a programme of Housing Benefit optimisation with Support Solutions and in particular their specialist Danny Key. Throughout the whole process Danny demonstrated that he has excellent knowledge of the subject and was able to put forward a convincing case for the increase in funding to the Housing Benefit team. Coventry Mind has already and will continue to recommend Support Solutions and in particular this service to other organisations." Steven Hill - Director of Central Services