Conflict between benefit reforms and housing policy increasing homelessness

  • The Chartered Insitute of Housing has said that risising homelessness has been caused by the coalition's benefit reforms and the governments housing policy needs to be tackled urgently. /images/rent_due.jpg

    The CIH have said that new council powers to house homeless people in the private rented sector is conflicting with government welfare reforms which have discouraged private landlords to rent to benefit claimants, reports Inside Housing.

    Grainia Long, chief executive of the CIH, today called for an ‘urgent' national review of the ‘clear conflict' between welfare and housing policy.

    The CIH have said its members in local authorities have reported that private landlords were either seeking to end tenancies of households claiming benefit or were taking advantage of the end of a tenancy not to let to households claiming benefits.

    In the first quarter of 2014, 27% of all homelessness acceptances were caused by the ending of a private tenancy which is now the most common reason for homelessness.

    Ms Long said: "There is a clear conflict here - the Localism Act was supposed to make it easier for local authorities to help extremely vulnerable people find a home but welfare reform is making it harder.  We think the government should carry out an urgent review. Welfare changes including the benefit cap and the bedroom tax are aimed at cutting the housing benefit bill - but ultimately the most effective way of achieving that would be to build more genuinely affordable homes."

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