Welfare Changes Threaten Winter Night Shelters and Increase Homelessness
- 07 Aug
Welfare changes could threaten winter night shelters and increase homelessness
Homeless Link has warned that changes to welfare could put winter night shelters under threat and see the death toll rise this winter.
Research by Homeless Link has found that last winter emergency homeless shelters played a vital role in preventing the deaths of many rough sleepers.
Homeless Link has produced a new guide for local communities on setting up a winter shelter- ‘Severe Weather Emergency Protocol and Extended Winter Provision' which is guidance for local authorities, voluntary sector and faith based groups. You can download the guidance here.
This guidance is designed to support local authorities and agencies to provide appropriate responses during the winter and periods of severe weather. Local areas should have enough adequate provision to prevent rough sleeping at any time of year. However, the winter period provides different opportunities for engaging with entrenched rough sleepers and hard-to-reach groups and increased support is often available.
According to their survey of 126 services, it has revealed that 4,863 people sought shelter from the cold during the last winter, a quarter of whom had not approached services for help before. Additionally, 10% of individuals were destitute people from abroad who, because of their immigration status, had no entitlement to welfare benefits.
The survey revealed that a third of shelters were funded to some extent by housing benefit. There is still two-thirds who receive no funding for this and there is a great deal of uncertainty over whether those receiving funding will continue to do so once Universal Credit is launched.
During 2012-13 there were some particularly prolonged and late periods of severe weather, with the latest period of extreme cold lasting well into April. Many agencies struggled to keep their services open this late due to exhausted funds and shortages of staff. Homeless Link have provided this guide to highlights the importance that agencies plan well ahead for all possible eventualities, and that they are fully prepared to provide services at any point when the need arises.
They have reported that many services expressed fears that welfare reform could exacerbate the situation as the rollout of universal credit, the bedroom tax and benefit cap may increase demand for help.
With uncertainty about how some shelters will be funded this year, Homeless Link is calling on councils and services to begin planning emergency winter provision now. The umbrella body is also calling on government to clarify whether winter shelters will be able to continue to be funded once universal credit is introduced.
Homeless Link's Chief Executive, Rick Henderson, has commented:
It's a simple fact - cold weather shelters save lives. With a continued trend towards more severe winters anything that threatens the work of shelters should concern us all. National and local government must ensure that the resources are in place to fund their essential work and that welfare reform does not put added pressure on already stretched services.
We appeal to areas to start planning now for how they will ideally provide winter long shelter and use the opportunity to ensure that individuals do not end up back on the streets.
Alison Gelder, Chief Executive of Housing Justice said:
It is vital that Local Authorities fulfil their duty to provide shelter for everyone in their area during the cold weather. We encourage them to work with churches and faith groups who currently provide a large proportion of the winter support upon which many people rely. The threats posed by funding cuts and changes to benefits are very serious and agencies must work together more effectively to prepare for the winter and ensure that nobody is left to face the cold on the streets.
- 08 Nov
NHS BOSS SETS OUT A CASE FOR CASH BOOST
The speech by Mr Stevens at the NHS Providers' annual conference of health managers is being made at the time when three reputable health think-thanks- the Health Foundation, the King's Fund and the...
- 09 Jun
THERESA MAY PLEDGES TO REPLACE THE MENTAL HEALTH ACT 1983
According to Ms May, the new bill would introduce the following:According to the Tories, the proposals were described as the biggest change to mental health treatment law in over 30 years.Ms May...
- 30 May
THE PRESENT FIRST PRIME MINISTER OF SCOTLAND IS TO PLEDGE AGAINST ANY PLANS TO PRIVATISE THE NHS
It is also expected that Sturgeon will do the following as proof of her party's commitment to fighting against further austerity:Sturgeon said this before Tuesday's manifesto launch:"While the polls...
- 17 Mar
402 MILLION POUNDS WILL BE INVESTED IN COUNCILS WITH THE GREATEST HOMELESSNESS DEMAND FROM APRIL 2017
Presently, funding is only used for homeless households and not for the prevention of homelessness in the first instance.The funding by the Department for Communities and Local Government is set to...
- 15 Mar
RULES AROUND PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE PAYMENTS MAY CHANGE ON THURSDAY
Ministers have advised chief executives of over 30 charities which claimed that people will be left without vital financial support, to restrict access to a disability benefit.The Disability Benefits...
- 06 Mar
THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN URGED BY THE BMA TO INCREASE HEALTH SPENDING BY 10 BILLION POUNDS
This increase in health spending to a proportion of GDP that matched that of the 10 leading economies across Europe could pay for at least 35,000 extra beds a day and many more GP's, according to the...
- 05 Sep
MANY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE REFUGES AT RISK OF CLOSING DUE TO HOUSING BENEFIT CAP
Women who have been victims of domestic violence as well as their children are at risk of falling into the hands of their violent partners if the government caps housing benefit in the social sector...
- 03 Sep
Data on disability benefits refused by DWP
DWP officials have refused a second request for basic information on disability benefits using the “Section 22” exemption they used previously, reports The Independent.The Department had been...
- 02 Sep
UN to investigate how welfare reforms will affect disability rights
A disability charity in Scotland has said it’s been contacted by the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as part of an inquiry into Britain’s treatment of people with...
- 01 Sep
Benefit cuts affecting 48,500 families in Liverpool
Analysis from Liverpool City Council has found that around 48,500 households are likely to lose their benefits due to new government reforms, reports the Liverpool Echo. Councillor Jane Corbett has...
What are the Future Funding Arrangements for Supported and Sheltered Housing? "Really enjoyable presentation, knowledge of presenters was excellent" M.D. - Community Integrated Care