A new report from the charity Homeless Link explores the links between the benefits system and homelessness, with a particular focus on London.
The report, which is funded by Trust for London, concludes that a lack of available, affordable accommodation will make it difficult to move people on from emergency accommodation after the pandemic.
A combination of the frozen Local Housing Allowance and the benefits cap means that people simply cannot afford the property that is available.
The report therefore calls on the government to:
• Continue to link the LHA to the 30th percentile of rents in the private rented sector
• Extend the Universal Credit uplift for the next financial year at a minimum
• Reform the benefits cap so that it does not put anyone at risk of homelessness inside or outside of London
• Invest in sufficient new affordable housing and move on accommodation in London Ensure Work coaches are able to have more tailored communication with individuals and develop a more personalised approach to their needs.
• Explicitly recognise homelessness within the welfare benefit system so that people can benefit from personalised support plans that are appropriate for their situation.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Homeless Link’s Head of Policy Sophie Boobis said: “During the pandemic great efforts were made to ensure that people without homes were given emergency accommodation.
“The achievements of the last year have given us the opportunity to end thousands of people’s homelessness by supporting them into permanent, secure housing.
“But this research finds that elements of the benefits system, combined with a lack of suitable, affordable housing can force people into homelessness once again.
“Reform is therefore urgent and essential.”