Some social housing tenants have managed to avoid welfare reform
- 06 Mar
It has been reported that hundreds of tenants have been able to avoid the impact of welfare reform; however their housing association landlord has said the real problem could be how tenants are paying.
Chief executive of Circle Housing, Mark Rogers, has said that 20% of its tenants who were hit by the bedroom tax and 40% of those hit by the overall benefit cap are now no longer affected by the changes.
This is apparently due to a combination of tenants finding work, downsizing, receiving discretionary housing payments or by taking a new person into their home, reports Inside Housing.
The number of tenants who are paying their rent despite the benefit changes has increased and 9% of those hit by the bedroom tax have failed to make up the reduction in benefits in December, however in the summer it was 25%.
"Although it's still early days, these figures indicate that the investment we have put into financial support, mobility and employment and skills is beginning to have an impact. For the first time we are seeing a link between investment in key services and changes in customer behaviour," Mr Rogers said. "Anecdotally we know people are paying by going to food banks, using up the last of their savings, borrowing from their parents, or working under the radar of the economy. We are keeping an eye on that, because it could be stocking up problems for the future. We also know there are people sitting at home with the lights off, people asking us to cut off their gas to avoid utility bills and people not eating for one day to make ends meet."
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Responding to the DWP Consultation: Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "I found the event informative and timely it helped me to complete our response to DWP without which I would have struggled." S.S. - Safe House