SUPPORTED HOUSING: “Government plans will exacerbate social care crisis”

speaking-in-chamberAndrew Gwynne MP has spoken out after the announcement of new Government plans that will hit those living in supported housing.

The Government has announced that it intends to limit the amount of Housing Benefit that a tenant can claim to a maximum amount equivalent to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate.  The LHA is the scheme designed to help people with housing costs who rent property in the private sector.

This maximum limit will be applied to any new social housing tenant, including vulnerable and older people, who begin their tenancy from 1st April 2016.  The proposal is that the LHA limit will then be applied to those tenants with effect from April 2018.

LHA is based on the size of the household and has no reference to the rent that is actually being charged for the property.  This becomes a real issue for people living in supported housing or schemes designed to house the elderly.

Rents in supported and sheltered schemes are higher than those in general housing purely because they attract high level service charges which are necessary in order to provide the right level of support for that individual.  The LHA will leave this vulnerable client group in a situation where they have to make up the shortfall between their rent and their housing costs.

Andrew Gwynne MP said:

“This proposal will cause a great deal of distress and financial burden for a significant number of vulnerable people in my constituency who will not be able to afford to live in accommodation that they need in order to live independently.

“These plans will make the crisis in our hospitals even worse – if people aren’t able to use supported housing, then if anything happens, people will have no option but to go to hospital. New Charter have made their concerns very clear to me. This is yet another example of ill-thought through plans from this Government.”

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