William Eichler 19 December 2019

Council chiefs call for welfare reform to tackle homelessness

Council chiefs call for welfare reform to tackle homelessness  image

Local authority leaders have called on the new Government to adapt welfare reforms so that they protect families at risk of becoming homeless.

The call came in response to the latest homelessness statistics which show that the number of households assessed by councils as either homeless or threatened with homelessness increased by 11.4% to 68,170 between April and June 2018 and the same quarter in 2019.

The charity Shelter has revealed that 280,000 people are recorded as homeless in England – an increase of 23,000 since 2016.

Responding to these figures, the Local Government Association’s housing spokesman, Cllr David Renard, said: ‘Behind every instance of homelessness lies an individual tragedy and councils want to work with the new government to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place and support those affected.’

He urged the new Government to adapt welfare reforms to protect families at risk of becoming homeless by restoring Local Housing Allowance rates to cover ‘at least’ the lowest third of market rents when the current freeze ends in 2020.

Cllr Renard also said that local authorities should be given the powers and funding needed to build affordable housing, and Right to Buy should be reformed to allow councils to keep all sales receipts and set discounts locally.

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