Manchester housing providers highlight "escalating human cost"
- 06 Sep
Five months after the introduction of bedroom tax Manchester housing providers have highlighted the "escalating human cost" of welfare reform.
A meeting at the council's economy scrutiny committee had providers warning that rent collection had dropped and only 7% of bedroom tax hit tenants could pay their rent.
Northwards Housing estimated £500,000 in rent arrears and housing associations reported that reduced revenue would see them having to push more resources towards rent collection and away from other areas of their work. Statistics discussed showed that homeless presentations had risen by 6.7%.
The Citizens Advice Bureau also attended the meeting and explained how they'd seen a 54% increase in debt advice between April and June this year.
Sue Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: ‘The picture of welfare reform is much wider than rent arrears alone, and this meeting will give a background to the impact of welfare reform from the perspective of organisations who work front line with residents - including the city council, housing providers, employment and advice centres and health care groups.
‘We always knew that these welfare reforms would not impact overnight - it would take some weeks and months for the real picture of the bedroom tax and benefit cap to become apparent, and indeed, another hurdle in Universal Credit is only months away - further compounding the problems facing Manchester residents.'
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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