Homeless Rise Linked to Benefit Changes.
The Human Face of Austerity.
Government austerity to blame for 30% rise in homelessness, says parliamentary committee,
Reports the Independent.
MPs warn that the number of homeless people is rising because most housing benefit claimants have to pay rent out of their state payments, rather than it being straight to their landlords
The Government’s welfare reforms are driving up homelessness, according to MPs who conducted the first inquiry into the scale of the problem for 10 years.
In a report, the Communities and Local Government Select Committee found that official figures underestimate the risen in homelessness and demanded urgent action to tackle it. The estimated number of rough sleepers in England rose by 30 per cent to 3,569 between 2014 and last autumn – a quarter of them in London.
This will come as no surprise to anybody with eyes.
Walk around Ipswich and you can see the numbers of people begging in the streets: it is striking.
In London you can see people sleeping rough, right up such Tourist centres as Trafalgar Square, and by the West End theatres in Cambridge Circus – not coincidentally next to the site of one of Victorian London’s worst ‘rookeries’, that is, slums.
The MPs warned that the number of homeless people is rising because most housing benefit claimants have to pay rent out of their state payments. They said all claimants should have the option of their rent being paid directly to landlords to reduce their chance of getting into arrears and to encourage landlords to rent to tenants at risk of becoming homeless. Many 18 to 21 year-olds are “at significant risk” of homelessness, and the MPs proposed that those losing their job should have a “grace period” of one or two months before losing the housing element of Universal Credit.
Calling for greater financial incentives to work, they said: “It cannot be right that someone must choose between the support they need and employment.”
The committee concluded: “The impact of the welfare reforms of recent years has increased pressure on levels of homelessness.” It added that the annual cap on benefit payments to one family – £20,000 and £23,000 in London – could worsen the problem.
The MPs called for women, single people and those with mental health problems to be given extra help. They heard evidence that women were driven into prostitution to avoid sleeping on the streets and said victims of domestic violence were particularly at risk of becoming homeless.
The committee took the unusual step of endorsing a Private Member’s Bill to be debated in the Commons in October which would give councils new duties to prevent homelessness and help homeless people.
This was also entirely predictable, given the mean-spirited intention behind the ‘reform’.
In a separate report, the Tory modernisers’ think tank Policy Exchange said jobless people aged 25 and under are more likely to have their benefits stopped or reduced for not doing enough to find work than any other age group. It found that young adults account for more than a third of benefit sanctions but account for less than a fifth of claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance. Of the 101,640 young people claiming it last November, 5,812 received a sanction.
Policy Exchange called for a shake-up of benefits and support for 16 to 25 year-olds, including the creation of youth employment centres.
Reports the BBC.
Homeless people are too often given meaningless and ineffectual advice by councils in England, MPs have said.
A Communities and Local Government Select Committee report found homeless people are too often “badly treated” by councils, saying they should have a legal duty to give meaningful support.
Homelessness is increasing and a new government plan is required, MPs added.
However, councils said they needed more money and powers, saying they “cannot tackle this challenge alone”.
The report urged the government to support the Homelessness Reduction Bill – proposed by the Conservative MP Bob Blackman in June – to impose tougher conditions on councils and force them to offer emergency accommodation for up to two months.
Official figures published by the government show that local authorities approved 14,780 households’ applications for homelessness assistance between 1 January and 30 March 2016.
This was up 9% on the same quarter in 2015.
However, the report warned that the statistics did not capture the full scale of homelessness, for example many “hidden homeless” who may be staying with friends or not have sought help.
If they had any decency they would listen to people like Doug, commenting on this Blog.
2 months emergency housing, how did they come up with that exactly as what do they feel will happen after. Are these homeless people going to magically find a property to rent in that 2 months that they couldn’t find before. Do government or even the public believe that the homeless have never looked and tried to secure a property.
And what about DWP and conditionality on the homeless, their expected to look for work or face being sanctioned which is counter intuitive when you consider besides the big issue, no employer will hire a homeless person. DWP know this only to well unless they want to assert every single DWP worker right up to the appointed minister are complete and utter idiots ill placed in the position they are in.
We only have to look at the way UC was developed to sanction housing benefit to know tory government intent and how when even applying for unemployment benefit, your instantly faced with a screen demanding i quote, ” an address you reside at”, which if you haven’t one, you can’t proceed with the claim and its been this way since it was first released and has been mentioned numerous time to DWP not that really it isn’t glaringly obvious from the get go. For the record they don’t even confront homelessness till further into the application and if that wasn’t bad enough, later on it asks for a phone number and again wont allow the person to proceed with the application for benefits if they don’t own a phone and this one gets me, DWP staff have absolutely no answer to it and at best could only if they did and I’m not saying they do, incite the person to add a fraudulently number and then ring DWP to give a change of details.
Now according to the dictionary vulnerable means – exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally yet DWP and local council have their own definition and this has been going on for at least a decade, that somehow, if you’re a certain age and of a certain health that your be perfectly ok living on the streets. DWP even expanded this to instruct public service staff NOT to treat people with certain mental illnesses like schizophrenia for example as VULNERABLE.
I’ve witnessed up and down the country, many a homeless person deliberately breaking the law just so they can get a temporary roof over their head and food in the mouth, especially in the depths of winter around Christmas. The amount of mentally ill prisoners is also quite alarming.
Now i and others have said from day one of these welfare reforms that their would be a knock on as people simply don’t lie down and die and will lead to an increase in costs towards the NHS and law enforcement and criminal retention so oh what a surprize certain ministers are now using it to justify change. Constantly others and i have demonstrated how being in prison despite the violence (statistically your odds of being attacked on the street are higher) is easier than being under conditionality, where a murder, a rapist, even a terrorist gets food and a bed no matter the horrible details of their crime yet raise your voice at a DWP staff member, not fulfil your conditions by a mm and WHAM, all monies are suspended.
A week in prison costs the taxpayer £538 a week, a massive 7 times more than the £74 a person gets claiming unemployment. Malnutrition and the illnesses it causes aren’t any cheaper and the recent revelation that a lot of homeless people develop addictions after going onto the streets and not before as previously believed. Add to that being regularly attacked by the public at night and you can easily imagine the financial burden placed on the NHS.
Oh for the record its not strictly 2 months housing, its actually UPTO meaning it could well mean a week or even possibly less, who knows at this juncture. What’s being prescribed is clearly manufactured by people who don’t understand the problems of being homeless in today’s UK as they actually believe by giving a person a house for 2 months (said on ann derbyshire) that magically they will find another, so we are now back where i started and that’s my whole point,
When you’re homeless all you ever do is get the run around only to end up where you started.
And they would also listen to Enigma:
35.When we asked Giles Peaker, Chair of the Housing Law Practitioners Association, what the future of homelessness would be if no action was taken, he was unequivocal:
Will it get worse? Yes. Will it get worse faster? Yes. That is already happening, and is just going to continue … One thing that could be done is to stop making it worse. That is the simple answer. There are some immediate triggers facing us … The roll-out of the reduced benefit cap is going to have a fairly dramatic effect across the country, whereas the first £26,000 one basically affected London. £23,000 and £20,000 outside of London is going to have a dramatic national effect, really taking large swathes of public sector tenancies out of affordability for families in that situation. If the rents continue to increase whilst there is the LHA freeze, without wishing to be overly melodramatic, we are heading towards a serious crisis.48
Any person with a shred of decency who listened to the Dougs and the Enigmas of this world would be boiling with anger.