Dawn Butler MP last week spoke out in Parliament about the threat to supported housing in Brent.
The Conservative Government decision to reduce social housing rents and to cap housing benefit at Local Housing Allowance rates puts the future of supported housing at risk. Whilst supported housing is currently exempt from the Local Housing Allowance cap until April 2017 the government are considering the policy as part of its wider review of supported housing.
The charity St Mungos, who provide supported housing facilities in Brent Central to vulnerable people, including ex-offenders and people with mental health and substance use problems, are among those warning that such facilities are at risk of closure under current government proposals.
Dawn Butler MP said:
“St Mungo’s provides a number of supported housing schemes in Brent for people who need additional support to rebuild their lives and live independently. Although I welcome the Government’s rethink, it is a shame that we have come to this point because many of those who were supplying supported housing services had already flagged up the issue… If the LHA cap is applied to St Mungo’s tenants, there would be a big gap between the costs of this specialist accommodation and the amount of housing benefit tenants could claim. St Mungo’s would not be able to sustain such a dramatic shortfall in its income and, like many of the other organisations we have heard about today, it would be forced to withdraw from providing supported housing.. The cap would be such short-termism.”
Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungos said:
“We thank Dawn Butler for raising this crucial issue in Parliament. We are pleased the government has recognised the importance of supported housing and urge ministers to work with the sector to put in place proper, long term protection for this specialist type of accommodation. Without this, efforts to prevent and reduce homelessness will be wasted.”
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLOYbp7y2B0