Shared Housing: Local Housing Allowance

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 17th March 2020.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to paragraph 2.20 on page 71 of the Budget 2020 Red Book, for what reasons the extensions of the shared accommodation rate exemptions to (a) rough sleepers aged 16 to 24, (b) care leavers up to the age of 25 and (c) survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking will not be introduced until October 2023; if she will make the provision of discretionary housing payments automatic for each of those groups until that introduction date; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The changes to the shared accommodation rate exemptions will require amendments to legislation as well as local authority and universal credit IT systems therefore they will take time to implement. We expect they will be in place from October 2023.

In the meantime, for other individuals who may require more support and whose circumstances may make it difficult for them to share accommodation, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. Due to their discretionary nature, DHPs will not be automatic as local authority decision makers are best placed to make informed judgements about relative priorities and needs in their area to ensure that the most vulnerable are supported and the limited funds are targeted effectively.

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