Hunt urged to unfreeze Local Housing Allowance to combat homelessness

Hunt urged to unfreeze Local Housing Allowance to combat homelessness

A coalition of 19 organisations have written a joint letter to the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt urging him to address the continued freeze on the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in his Autumn statement.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities annual statistics on statutory homelessness in England show that between April 2022 and March 2023, almost 300,000 households were owed a homelessness duty by their council due to either experiencing or being threatened with homelessness, a 6.8% increase on the previous year.

Of these, 157,640 households were assessed as experiencing homelessness (an 8.6% increase) and 140,790 were assessed as at risk of homelessness (a 4.8% increase). In London, 57,150 households were owed a duty, up 10%.

The letter states 

"Ahead of the Autumn Statement (now confirmed for November 22), we urge you to restore LHA rates to cover the bottom 30th percentile of local rents, as is your stated policy. There is wide consensus that an end to the freeze is now vital if the government is to tackle needless suffering due to record levels of homelessness and destitution."

Jo Carter, CEO of Glass Door Homeless Charity says:

“These extremely worrying statistics reflect what we are seeing daily on the front-line. The increasing unaffordability of the private rented sector is pushing more and more people towards homelessness. To address this housing crisis it is vital that the government takes the immediate step of raising Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates to cover the bottom 30% of rents in a given area."

"LHA rates have been frozen for the last four years, while rents have significantly increased in this time, meaning that a rapidly growing number of people are finding it impossible to find somewhere safe to live. It is vital that the LHA is un-frozen.

"As well as taking this immediate step, we call on the government to pass the Renters (Reform) Bill, which would make some long-needed changes to the Private Rented Sector, and to address the deeper causes of the housing crisis by significantly increasing the supply of social housing

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