Blog Archive

March 2015

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    Older people's support service sees funding boost

    The Royal Voluntary Service has been given a grant by the People's Postcode Lottery and hopes to use the money to expand its North Somerset Good Neighbour's Scheme, reports the North Somerset Times.The volunteering service sees people offer a telephone befriending service along with home visits to help older people with their daily tasks such as shopping, walking dogs or even just have a drink...

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    Social housing tenants are struggling with welfare reforms

    The study has been conducted by the London School of Economics and has found that whilst some social housing tenants are "coping" with welfare reforms, others are struggling with the cuts, reports the Western Morning News. Along with struggling with the reforms, many have also found it difficult to find employment, with barriers including transport and poor health preventing them from working...

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    26% rise in veteran's seeking mental health services

    Combat Stress has found that referrals for mental health issues and post-traumatic stress disorder have risen from 1,802 to 2,264. They believe the rise is due to the increase in veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan seeking help, reports the BBC.The charity now wishes to increase its clinical resources so that the rising demand is met.Combat Stress say that they believe people who fought in recent...

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    Homelessness in London has risen by 79% since 2010

    A report by the Department for Communities and Local Government found that levels of homelessness in London have risen by 34% between 2013 and 2014 with the rest of the country seeing a rise of around 14%, reports RT.The reports found that almost 750 people were sleeping rough on the streets of London, accounting for 27% of the total national figure.Homelessness charity Crisis are calling for the...

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    Rising number of young people with mental health issues

    Over half of the 850 staff surveyed by the Association of Teachers and Lectures agreed that more young people have developed problems with their mental health, reports the BBC.General secretary Dr Mary Bousted blamed "poverty, poor housing, unemployment and financial insecurity". Over one in six believed that at least a quarter of students in their place of work were affected by mental health...

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    Social housing tenants face rent increase due to conversion to "affordable" homes

    To make up a shortfall in government funding housing associations in London have quietly switched thousands of tenancies to higher rates seeing households hit by a £70m rent rise, reports the Guardian.Figures from the Greater London authority have shown that 25,000 homes in London have been converted from "social" housing to "affordable" housing since 2012. Social rents are typically half market...

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    Welfare reform has failed to help social housing tenants into work

    It has been revealed through research by the London School of Economics that just one in six tenants had either found work or increased their hours in the last year, reports Inside Housing.The report called Is Welfare Reform Working?, looked into 200 social housing tenants in the south west of England and found that the majority of the social tenants found their links with their job centre...

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    Large increase in the number of homeless families in temporary accommodation

    Official figures reveal that the number of families living in temporary accommodation England has increased by over a quarter in the three years to the end of 2014, reports the Guardian.By the end of 2014 61,970 homeless families were in temporary accommodation from B&Bs to home rented from private landlords. 46,700 of these were families with children.One in 10 of these families were housed in...

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    Temporary solution for social landlords concerned about universal credit

    DWP officials have notified social landlords to a solution for increasing benefit costs in line with rent increases under the new welfare reforms; however it will only apply for a year. Landlords feared that they'd be left facing benefit payment delays and increased rent arrears, reports Inside Housing.Currently social landlords have to inform the local council of any rent increases who will then...

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    Funding boost for mental health services supporting young people

    Organisations could gain up to £4.8m in top-up grants in 2015-16 and it is the first time they will have been eligible for a share of the government's £25m voluntary and community sector grants, reports the BBC.Young Minds chief executive Sarah Brennan said the windfall would help it provide "a vital lifeline" to families.The charity had been awarded £300,000 to support its parents...

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    £35m boost for care and supported housing announced by Boris Johnson

    This is the second phase of the care and support housing fund which offers loans or equity finance for private house builder to deliver specialised housing project for older people or adults with disabilities who wish to live in their own homes, reports Building.co.ukDevelopers are also able to bid for grants to finance mixed-tenure developments which will include private and affordable housing...

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    Inquiry into the impact of welfare reforms on women in Scotland

    Currently the welfare reform committee at Holyrood are gathering evidence on the issue, reports the BBC. It has said that research is suggesting women are being "disproportionately affected" and wishes to hear experiences from people across the country.The UK government argue that the reforms are "making the welfare system affordable for the long term while supporting the living standards of...

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    Benefit sanctions review demanded by MPs

    The committee is reiterating their recommendation after it was originally rejected by the government in January, following new evidence which raises concerns over the approach being adopted in a number of individual jobcentres, reports 24dash. Dame Anne Begg MP, the committee's chair, said: "Benefit sanctions are controversial because they withhold subsistence-level benefits from people who may...

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    Update on housing for elderly planning guidance

    Brandon Lewis the housing and planning minister has said that these changes will help to ensure that people over the age of 65 had a range of options to choose from to meet their changing needs. This includes better availability of bungalows, adaptations to existing properties and additional supported housing, reports Planning Resource.In a statement to Parliament, Lewis said the amended...

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    Study finds domestic violence could be stopped sooner

    A study of the largest database of domestic violence victims in the UK has found that victims are abused for almost three years before receiving any help and many are subjected to over 50 incidents during that time, reports the Guardian. The figures from the charity SafeLives show that almost a quarter of "high-risk" victims had been to A&E with injuries sustained during violence abuse, with...

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    Disadvantaged young people hit hardest by cuts

    A parliamentary committee has found that disadvantaged young people are suffering disproportionately during austerity and their problems in accessing legal aid are a "black mark" on the government's record, reports the Guardian. The joint committee on human rights has praised the government's public commitment to the UN convention on the right of the child, they highlight failures in practice...

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    Deaths due to benefit sanctions should have independent investigations

    A report into benefit sanctions by the Work and Pensions Committee has said that suicides linked to sanctions should be scrutinised in a similar manner to deaths in police custody, reports Inside Housing.A review of the systems of benefit sanctions was also called for in the report; however the government has previously rejected a call for an independent review in January.The DWP told the...

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    Staff absences at hospitals due to mental health issues doubled

    The BBC has found that 41,112 staff were off sick with anxiety, stress and depression in 2014 which is up from 20,207 in 2010. The NHS has said it needs to do more to support staff.The Royal College of Nursing said the figures reflected the "relentless pressure" staff were under. A spokesman for the NHS said: "Our staff are some of the most hard-working and dedicated people in our country. We now...

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    Patients with muscular dystrophy struggling with their mental health due to lack of support

    The charity Muscular Dystrophy UK has said that people with muscular dystrophy are being driven to depression and suicidal thoughts following lack of support from the NHS, reports the Guardian.700 people with muscular dystrophy were surveyed by the charity and findings revealed that over half had experienced feelings of depression and a fifth had suicidal thoughts and one in four were forced to...

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    Just one in 12 young people facing homelessness receive support needed

    The Children's Society has found that 12,000 young people aged between sixteen and seventeen turn to councils for housing support each year however many are failed due to a response that falls short of the government's guidance on the issues, reports 24dash. The report, 'Getting the house in order: Homelessness and 16- and 17-year-olds', found:•         Half of these vulnerable young...

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    Landmark Supreme Court battle win for homeless mother

    There was a unanimous ruling in favour of a mother of five fighting Westminster Council last Thursday which could affect how councils relocate homeless families, reports Inside Housing.In November 2012, Ms Nzolameso and her five children had refused an offer of accommodation in Milton Keynes from Westminster stating that it was not suitable for her to leave her support network or for her children...

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    Less investigations taking place about homeless families in B&B accommodation

    In 2014 the level of homelessness complaints investigated in detail by the LGO dropped by slightly more than a quarter from 190 in 2013 to 138 in 2014. The number of upheld complaints dropped by from 61 to 52 over the same period, reports Inside Housing.Recent government statistics show that the total number of homeless families placed in B&B style accommodation at the end of September 2014 stood...

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    Empty housing to become homes for young people

    The First Key project is a partnership between Manchester City Council, the charity The Manchester Settlement, Mosscare Housing Group and architects Bernard Taylor Partnership, reports 24dash.Currently nine empty homes are being refurbished to for the use of young people to take on their first tenancies.Investment came from The Manchester Settlement and Mosscare Housing as well as empty homes...

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    Mental health trusts see budgets cut by 8%

    Research by BBC News and the online journal of Community Care have found that the reduction has been worth almost £600m. Referrals to community mental health teams have also risen by 20% in the same time.Care minister Norman Lamb said budgets were "not the full picture". He added: "Mental health care is given through a range of services including the voluntary sector."Through the use of Freedom...

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    UK benefits cap deemed to be lawful

    The Supreme Court has found that the government's benefit cap risks leaving claimants unable to house, feed or clothe their family which is a clear breach of UK obligations on international children's rights. However it did not find the cap unlawful, reports the Guardian.It found the secretary of state for work and pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, had failed to "show how the cap was compatible with...

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    Government to inspect if housing can reduce NHS costs

    In the Budget document the government have said it's looking at the ‘cost-effectiveness of options to integrate spending around some of the most vulnerable groups of people.' This includes ‘exploring whether improving housing can help people with care needs to stay in their homes longer and reduce costs to the NHS.' The Treasury document does not reveal exactly what this would entail,...

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    Projects helps support young people with disabilities

    GOT was originally commissioned by Cornwall county council following the government's Aiming High Policy to improve the lives of young people with disabilities. It has since grown into a model of good practise and transforming the lives of record numbers of young people with disabilities in Cornwall, reports the Guardian. The scheme has become such a success that GOT Warwickshire and GOT Avon...

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    Ban on ‘revenge evictions' passed by parliament

    The law has been passed as part of the Deregulation Bill makes any eviction invalid where the tenant has made a complaint about housing conditions when the landlord had not responded adequately, reports Inside Housing. This means that where a landlord gives notice seeking possession through a ‘Section 21 notice' following a complaint about the condition of their home, it will no longer be...

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    Youth homelessness could be increased by housing benefit cuts

    Research has found that taxpayers would save £3m rather than the estimated £120m from stopping young people from claiming housing benefit, whilst also increasing the number of young people who are homeless.Heriot-Watt University and campaign group End Youth Homelessness' report - ‘Lifeline not Lifestyle' -reveals that not only would savings be small, but  only 140 additional young people...

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    Benefits cap could be deemed unlawful by Supreme Court

    Supreme Court judges Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Reed, Lord Carnworth and Lord Hughes heard evidence last April from solicitors representing a group of mothers with pre-school aged children. All of these mothers were victims of domestic abuse and their case argued that this new benefits cap would put them at risk of becoming homeless, reports the Guardian.The lawyers argued that Iain Duncan...

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    Mental health services for young people face an overhaul

    A review of services by a government taskforce has found that too many young people are receiving the help that they need. It is believed that following this the government will set out a five year plan to improve services, reports the BBC.The measures will be set out by Care Minister Norman Lamb.He will say a "complete overhaul" is needed. "I want to change the way we think about mental health...

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    New supported accommodation for ex-offenders in Birmingham

    Trident Reach the People Charity's new Reach House has been built to provide 24-hour supported accommodation for young offenders to help support them getting back into the community after their sentence.The service is working to transform the lives of young people with vulnerabilities reduce re-offending and support them into employment, education or training, reports 24dash.Reach House has a...

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    Older people and people with disabilities finding it hard to get state funded care

    Social services leaders are warning that many people with disabilities or older people with care needs are facing the challenge of having to pay for their own support at the end of the next parliament unless spending priorities are changed. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services have said that Sustaining state-funded adult social care services in some parts of England could become...

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    Study reveals that tenants hit by bedroom tax are suffering a range of health issues

    A study published in the Journal of Public Health has found that worries around debt, rent and arrears and the prospect of being moved from their family home has produces a sense of "hopelessness verging on desperation".  Tenants reported being trapped in a "vicious cycle" of loneliness and isolation, reports the Guardian. The study has concluded that the bedroom tax has "increased poverty and...

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    New regime to protect PRS tenants

    The council's executive has approved a scheme which aims to tackle high rates of poor property management in shared homes on Holloway Road and Caledonian Road. This comes after council officers surveyed houses in multiple occupation in both roads last year and found issues with over two thirds of properties, reports 24dash 208 homes were inspected and of this 140 had problems with fire alarms...

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    Funding boost for mental health care in England

    Mr Clegg has said that the money, which is to be spent over the next five years, will be mainly being put towards helping over 100,000 young people, reports the BBC. Within the plans waiting times standards will be set for children and extra specialists in talking therapy along with adding extra support to pregnant women and new mothers.Speaking during a visit to Clock View Hospital in...

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    Major breakthrough in protecting tenants with disabilities from eviction

    Shelter believe that the outcome following the trial of Akerman-Livingstone V Aster Communities is likely to help tenants with disabilities in rented housing who are threatened with eviction when they have limited security and the reason they are being evicted is linked to their disability, reports 24dash.Commenting after the Supreme Court hearing, Michelle Crabbe, the Shelter Bristol solicitor...

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    Scotland could receive powers allowing them to create their own benefits

    The Scottish Government has said that ministers in Westminster are considering ‘rewording' parts of proposed legislation which gives some housing benefit powers to Scotland, reports Inside Housing.The Scottish Government have said that the redrafting would be in three areas which includes the power to create new benefits and to supplement other welfare payments.A major commission set up by the...

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    Housing bid for £55m homeless fund

    The fund which is open for bids, will be used over the following two years and has £25m available for accommodation outside London and £30m in London, reports 24dash.The money is said to be used for two different projects: 1)      The Homeless Change project, which will provide upgraded hostel accommodation to improve physical and mental health outcomes for those who are homeless, whilst...

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    Housing for young people is top priority for YMCA

    Within the manifesto are five key areas for change: housing & accommodation, family work, health & wellbeing, training & education, democracy & youth engagement, reports 24dash.The recommendations include needing to build more affordable housing to proposals for a 'Help to Rent' scheme which could help more young people save for a deposit and cope with expensive monthly rents.YMCA England chief...

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    Staff working with young offenders criticised

    A report by three inspection bodies has said that staff aimed at helping reduce re-offending in young offenders are "too often suspicious of each other" reports the BBC.The report, by the Care Quality Commission, Ofsted and HM Inspectorate of Probation, examined "resettlement services" for young offenders - those aged 10-17."In some cases this led to a passive acceptance of failure; for example...

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    Victims of domestic violence exposed to intimidation as they cannot provide evidence for legal aid

    Over a third of domestic violence victims are unable to provide evidence that is needed to receive legal aid reports a parliamentary watchdog. With lack of support from a lawyer, victims often find it hard to leave partners as they are exposed to intimidation and could end up facing attackers in court with no representation, reports the Guardian. The report cites a survey conducted by the Rights...

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    Prevention is top priority for people working to support people who are homeless

    A poll undertaken by charity Homeless Link has found that prevention is one of their top priorities, closely followed by housing.From the poll nine in ten homelessness professional wanted to see more action to prevent homelessness, whereas two years ago the issue ranked seventh. Due to this Homeless Link want to ensure that everyone who seeks help from their council gets tailored assistance which...

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    Support for Staffordshire mental health cell campaign

    Staffordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, placed pressure on mental health service providers to agree to a protocol that ensured alternatives to custody are in place. This partnership saw the number of people detained in police cells fall by 59%, reports the Express and Star.Mr Ellis said: "Police custody is fundamentally the wrong place for an individual who is in mental...

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    Charity finds benefit sanctions regime to be flawed

    A report conducted for Crisis by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University found that benefit claimants were subject to a ‘postcode lottery' on whether or not their benefits would be reduced as a penalty for not finding work, reports Inside Housing.‘Around half of all "reconsidered" decisions are overturned and many JCP (Job Centre Plus) advisor...

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    Ban on universal credit for EU migrants raises concerns

    Under these new regulations, no EU households will be entitled to benefits without having worked in the UK first, reports 24dash. The DWP say that the move follows actions that have already been taken to halve the amount of time EU jobseekers can claim benefits. It will also mean that if they don't have a job after three months, their right to reside in the UK will be lost.The DWP said: "These...

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    Tenants hit by welfare reforms see a rise in debt

    In the sixth report in a major study of northern households affected by welfare reforms, Real Life Reform, the average debt per household has increased by 55% from £2,288 to £3,554. Average weekly debt repayments have more than doubled in the same period, reports Inside Housing. The study is being produced by seven social landlords along with the Northern Housing Consortium and the University...

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    Fewer working hours are better for some on universal credit

    A review has found that welfare reforms are making it more attractive for some people to work shorter hours, reports the Guardian.The review found that the universal credit system's flaw particularly affect single parents, second earners and those who work without having children dependent on the,.The interim report, overseen by Mike Brewer, professor of economics at Essex University, says UC's...

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    Universal credit support for Scottish parents

    This factsheet is the first of seven being created to support people in Scotland with the changes to their benefits, reports Deadline News.Universal credit should be rolled out to single people with children by April 2016, however if a single claimant subsequently becomes a single parent, they will remain on universal credit.On the factsheet people will be able to see how universal credit is...

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    Lack of affordable housing leaves people stuck in supported accommodation

    Residents at the charity's Surbiton branch have said that even after finding work they weren't able to save money as they found their housing benefit was reduced meaning money then had to go towards rent. They said that if it wasn't for the YMCA they would be back on the street, reports the Surrey Comet.The Government pays YMCA residents housing benefit towards their hostel rent.Receptionist...

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    Services helping people who are homeless face cuts in funding

    Umbrella body Homeless Link have found that out of 357 services, 41% had the funding for accommodation projects in 2014 reduced since the previous year, which is slightly up from 38% of services in 2013, reports Inside Housing. The survey found that funding reduced on average by 17% for projects that saw a decrease this year.Another report, Support for Single Homeless People in England, also...

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    Welfare reforms blamed for increase in rent arrears in Wales

    Statistics published by the Welsh Government show that 33% of the 221,911 social housing households in Wales were in rent Arrears as of 31st March 2014, represents a 4.8% increase in tenants in arrears the previous year, reports Inside Housing.The Welsh government said: "The increase in both the number and percentage of rent arrears among tenants of social housing during 2013/14 may be...

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    Care Minister propose new mental health rights

    Care Minister Norman Lamb has said that these changes would put people in charge of their care whilst promoting community support as an alternative to hospitals, reports the BBC.Ministers have pledged to move patients out of hospitals and into community care following the Winterbourne View scandal. Last month the National Audit Office said the government had failed to honour its pledge, because...

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    Drop in the number of possession claims issued by social landlords

    Possession claims occurs in a county court as part of the legal process for gaining possession of a property if a tenant is in arrears or has broken a tenancy agreement. The Ministry of Justice published figures that show social landlords issued 97,924 possession claims in 2014 which is down 9% on the figures from the previous year, reports Inside Housing.The suggested decrease in claims is due...

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    New partnership for one housing association sees vulnerable tenants receiving homeware

    Derwentside Homes is working with the British Red Cross to help put together Home Start kits contain items such as crockery and cutlery along with curtains and kettles, reports 24dash.The scheme aims to help tenants in difficult situations, for example those being rehoused due to domestic violence who may have nothing of their own, feel more settled in their new homes.The idea for the scheme came...

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    Home care services for older people are ‘being short changed'

    It is believed that around 500,000 people rely on the support of the home care service for help with washing and dressing. The UK Homecare Association poll of over 200 councils found that 28 paid a "minimum price" of £15.72 an hour, reports the BBC.The "minimum price" has been calculated by using the national minimum wage and then adding to that the costs of running the service, including travel...

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    200,000 people will be hit by new universal credit rules

    Social landlords believe that new regulations are likely to lead to increased hardship and evictions, reports Inside Housing.Whilst current universal credit calculations take into account the amount of money a claimant earns a month, the new rules will look into the earnings of the claimant over the previous six months. This will mean that if a person earns a larger amount in one month, but...

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    Campaign to support older people against fraud is backed by Plymouth police

    Through the ‘Spot It, Stop It' campaign, which is funded by the Home Office, awareness is being raised surrounding the numerous scams that older people may fall victim too.In Devon and Cornwall last year there were 8,600 reports of fraud and a loss of around £9m, with the average age of victims usually between 61 and 90, reports the Plymouth Herald.In this new campaign it is hope that by...

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    Six fold increase in homelessness in Greater Manchester

    Analysis by the M.E.N reveals that homelessness has increased in the city by 150% in the last four years and that there are now six times as many people sleeping rough in Manchester as there was in 2010.The figures have been compiled by councils and many agree that the figures are merely the tip of the iceberg.Jonathan Billings, who runs Stockport's homeless charity the Wellspring, told the...

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    Survey finds a small number of older people in the UK have a good quality of life

    An ageing population survey, undertaken by the Guardian, has found that only 26% of respondents felt that older people in the UK have a good quality of life. This is compared with 45% of people who don't, and just 28% of people felt their standard of living was good in financial terms with 46% disagreeing.The survey consisted of 1,250 participants which included carers, professionals who work...

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    Over 10,000 people across Lanarkshire have had their benefits cut

    North Lanarkshire is the second most affected local authority in Scotland with 6026 housing benefit claimants losing on average £9.59 a week as a result, reports the Daily Record.The council in North Lanarkshire have said that around 97% of people claiming housing benefit have been given discretionary housing payments.Stephen Llewellyn, operations manager at North Lanarkshire Council said:...

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    Domestic abuse fears rising due to universal credit changes

    The Joint Committee on Human Rights has said that universal credit could leave women exposed to abuse that see men limit their partners' access to money, reports the BBC.This is due to the benefit being paid to couples through a joint account. The committee said it shared fears raised by women's groups that the system would "reduce the financial autonomy of women" and could leave domestic...

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    Wait times for young people seeking treatment for mental health is rising

    The figures revealed that people waiting 53 week rose from 20 to 226, reports the BBC. A spokesman said £17m had been invested in improving services since 2009 and that it would continue to work to "ensure that all young people who need the services get them within the time they should expect".Scottish Labour's health spokeswoman Jenny Marra said: "Twenty vulnerable young people waiting over a...

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    Report finds DWP has made ‘little progress on universal credit'

    A committee report explains that less than 18,000 people were claiming universal credit by October 2014 compared to the seven million people expected in the long term, reports Inside Housing."We hope the [Work and Pensions] department's expectation that this number will rise significantly by February 2016 proves to be accurate," the chair of the committee Margaret Hodge stated.Ms Hodge also says...

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    55% rise in rough sleeping over the last four years

    Homelessness charity Crisis is now calling on the country's political party leader to review the help single homeless people receive under the law.With 2,744 people reported by local councils across the country to be sleeping rough on any one night in 2014, last year revealed a 14% rise in rough sleepers, reports 24dash.Jon Sparkes, Crisis chief executive, said: "These figures show that the law...

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    Victims of bedroom tax are also facing a cut in council tax support

    The New Policy Institute (NPI) have found that 270,000 people who have been affected by the bedroom tax are also having their council tax benefits reduced as well, reports 24dash. On average, people have seen their housing benefit reduced by £15.61 a week due to the under occupancy policy and since council tax support was cut in 2013 they are also having to pay £2.86 a week in rates."The change...

What are the Future Funding Arrangements for Supported and Sheltered Housing? "Information on Exempt Accommodation & DWP Review was very informative, but also commend your approach in delivering workshops/conferences in a proactive way, and use of email and your website as a public resource" P.C. - The Hyde Group  

 

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