Homeless Link responds to the Budget
Blog posted by: Helen Harrison, Tuesday, 30 October 2018.
In response to the Chancellor’s 2018 Autumn Budget, Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said:
“Homelessness organisations across England consistently tell us that people who are ready to move on from homelessness aren't able to because housing isn't genuinely affordable. We are therefore extremely disappointed that the Budget announcements fell silent on removing the freeze on local housing allowance rates, which has contributed to an ever-increasing gap between people’s incomes and the rents where they live."
On Universal Credit
"The promise of extra investment to address problems with Universal Credit is a step in the right direction and suggests that the Government are beginning to acknowledge issues with the current system.
"Waiting for benefits or repaying debt should never leave people struggling to buy necessities or facing eviction because they can't pay their rent. Homeless Link is therefore pleased to see a commitment to a run on of benefits when people move from legacy benefits to Universal Credit. It's also promising to see a change to the level of debt repayments, which we believe should be far more tailored to individual circumstances than it is in the current Universal Credit system.
"However, the announcements made don't go nearly far enough for new claimants or those that move to Universal Credit before 2020. Our members tell us that many of the people they are supporting are facing issues now with making and managing a Universal Credit claim, struggling to access the system, waiting dangerously too long for their first payment, and receiving little, if any, support to manage their payments. People who are experiencing homelessness just don't have the financial safety net to fall back on when these issues arise, putting further risk to them moving on from homelessness. Homeless Link is calling for a pause in the roll-out until these problems have been fully addressed."
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With years of reduced spending on housing-related support and increasing gaps between income and rents, now is the time for Government to invest in tackling the structural causes of homelessness.
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