Youth homelessness update for June 2015: working to protect Housing Benefit for young people who need it

Tuesday, 30 June 2015 - 12:59pm

Our monthly review of the latest developments affecting youth homelessness.

The new government have pledged to remove the “automatic entitlement” to housing support as part of their new “youth offer”. We believe this means the withdrawal of access to Housing Benefit and Universal Credit housing costs.

Along with others, we are trying to ensure that any such change does not lead to increased  homelessness amongst young people.

We are doing this in a number of ways, such as:

  • Helping produce this briefing signed by a number of agencies outlines some of the facts behind HB for 18-21s. 
  • We are trying to gather data on use of hostels and supported housing by this group (information has tended to be gathered on the wider 16-25 group)
  • Looking to proactively share any evidence we have with politicians and civil servants in Government.

What will we be asking for from government?

At this stage, it is difficult to be precise without knowing what exactly is being proposed. However, some of the things we will are likely to be pushing for include:

  • Exemptions to be put in place for young people who need them, such as individuals in hostels and supported housing
  • Legislation to not be applied retrospectively to those already claiming Housing Benefit in accommodation 
  • Proper consultation and comprehensive impact assessments on any proposals before making them law.

How can Homeless Link members get involved?

The evidence from the last few years is that the government are geniunely keen to know what the impact of their policies will be on the ground. They will want to be made aware of any unintended consequences which might follow from the introduction of this change.  

Any data our members can provide that can inform that process will be invaluable. We are particularly interested in the numbers of 18-21 year olds who are using homelessness services and are reliant on Housing Benefit to pay the rent.

We'd also like to know if agencies have received any feedback locally on how these changes might work in practise. Any information you provide will be treated confidentially and will be invaluable in helping us build up a picture of what information is being shared and how.

To get involved, please get in touch with me.