Government Protects Night Shelter Housing Benefit
- 01 Jul
The government have had to step in to protect the housing benefits night shelters receive after a ruling on a case in Wales caused councils to review their policies.
They have firmly said that councils can still pay housing benefit to the majority of night shelters, and recognise the contribution the shelters have.
Earlier this year, a homeless shelter in Salford had to close after councils began to reassess definition of a 'home' and their eligibility criteria for housing benefit when staying in a night shelter.
This is following a court ruling on a case in Wales from 2012; a judge ruled that the council was not liable to pay housing benefit to an individual to cover the costs of overnight stays at a Holyhead shelter.
Councils then wanted to reassess who they would have to pay the benefit to, which would result in closure for many councils across the country that rely on the benefit to stay open.
11 local authorities had withdrawn some or all payments to night shelters or were insisting on modifications to services, despite the judge of the tribunal saying the decision he made was specific to that case and the facts surrounding it.
Emmaus homeless charity started a petition which they gave to Lord Freud impressing on him to take action to protect these night shelters so no more would have to lose funding.
The government have now written to councils saying they can still pay housing benefit to the majority of night shelters to try to clear up confusion.
The government has invested £470 million in night shelters for four years from 2011/12 and the note makes clear that housing benefit rules have not been changed, so to continue to pay the benefit to users of the majority of shelters:
The government recognises the important contribution that night shelters can make to reducing rough sleeping and the associated costs to society.
Jacqui McCluskey, director of policy for the umbrella body Homeless Link, said:
When individuals suddenly find themselves on the streets, it is vital that they have somewhere to go.
Night shelters are often the only emergency accommodation available and confusion over the ruling was beginning to lead to unnecessary closures, potentially leaving those in need with no option but the street.
- 11 Sep
New service to support homeless people in Birmingham
A new dedicated Homeless Street Triage car will be responding to the rising number of calls reporting homelessness, begging and anti-social drinking in the city, reports 24dash.In the last year –...
- 09 Sep
Gym in Kent hopes to improve health and fitness of homeless people
Riverside is a specialist in working with single homeless people to help them get their lives back on track and into accommodation. Their new project, a gymnasium, has been funded by the Riverside...
- 08 Sep
The cost of homelessness in Hackney doubles
Figures have shown that the cost of homelessness in 2009/10 was £3,092,255 compared to £7,167,440 in 2014/15, with a cut on staff spending from £3,239,653 to £2,608,491 reports 24dash.Hackney...
- 04 Sep
Two homelessness services to be investigated
The Scottish Housing Regulator is set to investigate every aspect of services offered by Dumfries and Galloway Council, whilst also examining how homeless people access help and support at Scottish...
- 03 Sep
Homeless project for young people under threat due to cuts
Platform for Life was expected to attract interest from numerous housing associations with its scheme to convert properties into accommodation for young people in further education, training or work,...
- 01 Sep
Charities warns Irish government of homelessness crisis
Social Justice Ireland is calling for a new funding system that will meet the demand and reveal that only 20 council homes for families have been completed within the first three months of this year,...
- 26 Aug
Newspaper office to become a centre for homeless people
The old office for the Doncaster Free Press is being transformed into flats and other facilities for people who are homeless, reports Hold the Front Page. The building is being turned into...
- 20 Aug
Cuts leaving people in Cheltenham needing homelessness support
Bosses at CCP and Cheltenham Borough Council have said the “devastating impact” of benefit cuts in the town are causing issues for many people, report the Gloucestershire Echo.Over the past few...
- 19 Aug
Concern that homelessness in Cambridge is at ‘tipping point’
Not only do figures show a rise in quarterly numbers by 24 households, they also reveal that over 350 cases were placed in temporary accommodation over the last year, which was a rise of 50 cases on...
- 11 Aug
Charities say Wales is “setting an example” for homelessness
A joint report by Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has praised Welsh laws that are trying to address the issues of homelessness, reports the BBC.However they warn that the removal of...
Responding to the DWP Consultation: Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "I thought this briefing was very good and very useful. The presentation was clear, well argued and I always find Michael gives me food for thought even if I don't agree with everything he says. I really like the way he facilitates a discussion in the room and I learn as much from other participants as I do from the presenter which is always good. Right length, right tone." R.P. - Richmond Fellowship