Benefit cap on social housing will leave thousands homeless, landlords warn
Tens of thousands of tenants in sheltered housing, including frail older residents, domestic violence victims and people with mental illness may become homeless as a result of benefit cuts, landlords have said.
Government plans to cap housing benefit for social rented properties from April will put an estimated 82,000 specialist homes under threat of closure, leaving an estimated 50,000 vulnerable tenants who are unable to work without support.
Housing associations and charities have warned of closures on “a massive and unprecedented scale” unless ministers exempt supporting housing schemes from the housing benefit cap.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said the cap would undermine government plans to put specialist domestic abuse refuges on a financially sustainable footing. “An estimated 12,000 women will stay in refuge every year, more often than not, with their children,” she said. “Uncertainty about the future of housing benefit payments is already directly impacting on services plans for the future and a risk to the future of refuge provision is a risk to women and children’s lives.
We are urging government to make clear their intentions to exempt domestic violence refuges from these regulations as a matter of urgency.”
The cap, which will bring housing benefit for social housing tenants in line with the private sector, was announced by the chancellor, George Osborne, in the autumn statement in November as a way to “prevent social landlords from charging inflated rent for their properties”.