Welfare reforms leave housing associations reluctant to house vulnerable people

  • The Smith Institute and Sovereign Housing Association have said that the government needs to reassess its welfare reforms and grant funding polices as housing associations are now showing a greater a reluctance to house those considered vulnerable.monopoly_house_and_money.jpg

    A report by the thinktank, which is based on interviews from 32 housing associations, councils and local enterprise partnerships in south England, has made fourteen recommendations for the government and social landlords, reports Inside Housing. 

    The findings reveal that “a number of councils maintained that housing associations have changed their approach to nominations by introducing strict affordability criteria, particularly in respect of affordable rent properties”.

    It said that some associations “showed a greater reluctance to accept nominations from vulnerable households or those with… rent arrears”.

    Paul Hackett, director of the Smith Institute, said: “The cocktail of welfare reform and reduction in housing grant is having a negative effect on the relationship between councils and housing associations. Government urgently needs to address the impact of its policies to reduce tensions between councils and social landlords.”

    • Government should assess impact of welfare reforms and cuts in development grant on nominations to housing associations
    • Councils and housing associations should work together to improve people’s ability to afford a tenancy in advance of being nominated
    • Housing associations and the National Housing Federation should engage with councils to examine how planning applications can better reflect local planning policies
    • DCLG should initiate an inquiry to see whether local plan requirements have shifted the balance in favour of new development
    • Councils should update contact lists of associations
    • Housing associations should contact councils preparing strategic housing market assessments to ensure local needs are addressed
    • The NHF and Local Government Associations should discuss whether associations can provide more temporary accommodation
    • Government needs to make it clearer what it expects from Local Enterprise Partnerships when it comes to housing

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