Re: Housing : Social Tenants / BTL & HB Problems / Shortages / Grenfell Tower Fallout
Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:58 pm
Council forks out thousands on emergency housing payments.
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council spent its entire emergency housing budget last year.
New figures have revealed bosses at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council forked out tens of thousands of pounds on emergency housing payments for vulnerable people.
The figures, released by the Department for Work and Pensions, show the council spent £32,465, between April and September last year, to help people on benefits cover housing costs.
The district council was awarded £84,413 for the 'Discretionary Housing Payment' (DHP) scheme for the 2018/19 financial year.
But in the first six months the authority had to spent almost two fifths of its annual budget.
Payment are awarded to claimants if they have been affected by specific housing policies and are at risk of homelessness, or if they are hit by emergency costs.
Financial assistance charity Turn2us said that while the payments are a "vital source of income" for vulnerable people, they are not a long-term solution to the housing crisis.
Speaking to the Press Association, campaigns manager Matthew Greer, said: "Welfare changes over the last decade are leaving councils increasingly burdened, and funds are only limited.
"While we would welcome increasing the funding for DHPs, this will not solve the problem long-term and ultimately help to change the lives of people who are struggling.
"The Government must stand up and act fast to end the rising tide of homelessness across the country – including building affordable homes, tackling the issue of high rents and ending the ongoing benefits freeze."
Homelessness charity Crisis said it was concerned that the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme is unsustainable in the long term.
Chief executive, Jon Sparks, said: "To truly prevent people from becoming homeless, we need more than sticking plaster solutions."
The DWP said the scheme allowed local authorities to "provide additional support to people experiencing financial difficulty with housing costs".
A spokesman commented: "Since 2011 we have provided around £1 billion to local authorities to make these payments.”
For 2018-19, the DWP has awarded a total of £153 billion in DHP funding across England and Wales.
Funding for the scheme in 2018-19 is less than it was last financial year, when the council was awarded £95,450.
Staffordshire Moorlands spent almost all of its allocated funding last year.