Local Housing Allowance: Homelessness

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered on 1st November 2021.

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Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Shadow Secretary of State for Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 policy costings document, published 27 October 2021, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on homelessness of the decision to maintain local housing allowance at 2020-21 cash levels.

Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The causes of homelessness are complex and it is driven by a range of factors, both personal and structural.

In April 2020 we boosted investment in Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates by nearly £1 billion providing 1.5 million claimants of Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit with around £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. In 2021/22 we have maintained LHA rates at the same cash level.

As set out at the Autumn Budget, the forecast default is that LHA rates for 2022-23 will be maintained at the elevated cash rates agreed for 2020/21. This will be confirmed at the benefits uprating review.

For those who require additional support Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available.    Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in DHPs to local authorities to support households with their housing costs.

The Government has also announced an additional £65 million this year to help those with rent arrears who may be at risk of homelessness. This means the Government is spending more than £800 million this year alone on tackling homelessness and rough sleeping.

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