London Homelessness Soars In First Three Months of Benefit Cap

homeless1The number of families accepted as homeless by London local authorities has rocketed by 26% compared to the same period a year earlier.

4,230 households – almost all with children – were owed a main homelessness duty between April and June of this year.  These are families who councils have accepted they have a legal duty to help and only represent the tip of the iceberg.  Thousands more single people, families judged intentionally homeless, or those refused help for not meeting strict criteria, are also facing life without a home in the capital.

This huge rise came after the Government introduced a Benefit Cap for families at £500 a week in some parts of London from April this year.  Whilst this is unlikely to affect many households in Scotland, Northern England or Wales,  it has made much of the capital, and surrounding areas, unaffordable to families on benefits due to soaring rents.

This is reflected in the figures.  In London the main reason given for the loss of a settled home was the ending of an Assured Short Term tenancy, representing 1,450 households who became homeless in the period.  This is a staggering rise of 78% on a year earlier showing that the very worst predictions about the Benefit Cap – which could see over 200,000 children made homeless – are already starting to appear.

And this really is just the beginning.  The Benefit Cap had only been rolled out in four London boroughs during the period which these figures represent.   Some families have been protected by Discretionary Housing Payments – money set aside by Councils intended for the most vulnerable and which is only a temporary measure.  Even those families who did not receive this support may have clung onto their homes for a couples of months and not yet had to apply to the council for emergency help.

The Benefit Cap is currently being rolled out across the rest of London and the UK.  This comes along with the Bedroom Tax – a measure which will not see a spike in homelessness immediately as Housing Benefits are gradually chipped away at and some of the poorest households in the country fall deeper and deeper into arrears.  Almost all of those evictions are still to come and 600,000 people are set to be affected.

On top of this the Benefit Uprating Bill means that Housing Benefits are to be cut from next year whatever happens to rents.  Rules already introduced which mean those under 35 are now only entitled to a room in a shared house are also having an impact as there aren’t enough rooms in shared houses to go round.  This measure has – according to a report published by the DWP themselves – led to some landlords stopping renting to anyone under the age of 35 in case they lose their jobs and can no longer pay the rent.

Homelessness across the UK rose by 5% in the last year, a still alarming figures.  But as tens of thousands of people are socially cleansed from the South East pressure on housing elsewhere will start to mount and rents are likely to rise everywhere.  The upcoming Treasury created house price bubble is also likely to impact on rents whilst spending on building social housing (remember that?) is being cut to the bone.

It is impossible to predict how bad homelessness is going to get.  But savage cuts to housing benefits, cuts to social housing, soaring rents and one of the least regulated private rental sectors in the world could lead to a truly terrifying  future for millions of low income households in insecure and expensive private rented accommodation.  Very soon losing your job in many parts of the UK is likely to mean losing your home.  And there are no cheaper homes to go to.  A dramatic failure of free market housing policies led to the crisis which saw rents sky-rocket and Housing Benefits take up much of the slack.  Now those benefits are being stripped away, and rents are still soaring.  The biggest housing crisis to hit the UK in generations could be just around the corner and not a single MP, from any of the main three parties, seems to give a flying fuck.

The latest homelessness figures can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statutory-homelessness-in-england-april-to-june-2013

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

29 responses to “London Homelessness Soars In First Three Months of Benefit Cap

  1. It’s probably a lot more than the benefit cap. It’s probably jobcentre sanctions leaving people with nothing at all. What are they supposed to do? Die or turn to crime? Begging? It’s a desperate situation which will only get worse.

  2. Just e-mailed Ms. Raquel Rolnik, UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, your excellent article on London homelessness. She’s currently in
    Britain investigating the bedroom tax.

    Ms. Rolnik will share her preliminary findings and recommendations at a press conference to be held on Wednesday 11 September 2013 at the premises of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, from 10:00 am to 11:30 pm.

    A final report on the official visit will be presented in Geneva by the Special Rapporteur to the Human Rights Council in March 2014.

  3. Reblogged this on Oprichnik Rising and commented:
    The very tip of the Iceberg

  4. So what happens when a further half a million people come to the capital in January?

  5. Landless Peasant

    I need to find another home before Winter sets in or I’m going to die of Hypothermia, as there is no way I can pay the Bedroom Tax AND afford heating. I’ve just informed my Housing Officer that the flat next door is not being lived in but is being used by a criminal gang for illegal purposes. She said she cannot guarantee that I can have the flat even if they are successful in evicting the criminals. If they give that flat to someone else I will rip out my electric fire and burn wood in the fireplace, even if I burn the house down in the process. I’ve lived here for 16 years as a responsible tenant with no arrears.

  6. Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    So 4,230 households have become homeless, in London, due to the Benefit Cap. The article states that local authorities in London have accepted that they owe these families a main homelessness duty – how much more money does that mean they have to spend on these families than they were before April this year?
    If we knew that, we would be able to show the true cost of this policy. Too many people think this pointless Coalition government is bringing spending under control when in fact it is making matters worse.

  7. its become so googoo gaagaa now in this country that the selling of houses is the economy the fetishizing of property and anyone who isnt aproperty owner is fucked basicaly as rents spiral up and out of control as they are doing who is going to be able to afford to rent anything sertanly not any one on benefits thats for sure its just crazy whats going on are we going to see tent citys like america mass street homeless god help us your right johnny none of the partys give a fuck

    • I think homeless Americans end up in caravans and are called ‘trailer trash’,because of their poverty – that’s the humane Americans for ya.

  8. roll up roll up join the homeless queue bloody great eh? benefit cap and bedroom tax forces you out of yr home whilst local govt imposes localism on you preventing you from moving -utterly stupidness from govt twats…

  9. A local housing authority for the north west, Riverside Housing, publish a newsletter for customers. An article in issue 19, for summer 2013, reads as follows:
    ‘The Samaritans are training Riverside’s customer service centre staff in how to handle suicidal callers. Since the end of last year, we have noticed an increase in the number of callers expressing suicidal thoughts. Staff raised concerns about to handle these conversations, and following training from the Samaritans, they are now equipped with the skills and confidence to talk to those at risk.’

    ‘ Anna Bishop, Riverside’s Director of Customer Service, said “As austerity measures continue to affect many social housing tenants, we are finding more and more people literally at the end of their tether. Job losses, cuts in benefits and homelessness are just some of the issues that are leading people towards feelings of desperation so severe, that they are sharing suicidal feelings with our staff”‘.

    An unbelievably horrible, shameful mess. All those tragic calls should be recorded and sent to each member of the Government.

    • @ev housing associations are taking over homeless hostels as ‘new business’ the ceo s of housing associations get a bonus for gaing new business as incentive–thats what has happened at where i live..some poor tenant dropped down dead at my place–the company was shitting itself as it has cut staff to save money but has been hiring using zero contracting..

    • EV
      This just shows how desperate people are getting. These suicide thoughts people are having, is very sad. They must be at their wits end ringing Samaritans. What’s going to happen now winter is on its way???, if its going to be a freezing one like last years we are in trouble. I could barely afford to put heating on and that was before the council tax and bedroom tax billings came in April 2013. Its like a mass clean up is taking place. All poor people out now, you are making things look untidy, off you go now. Johnny void is not wrong, MP’s from all sides do not give a fuck!

    • Riverside and the other housing associations round here are all a bunch of wankers. They have turned a lovely green town into an inner city slum clone with the policy of cutting everything down that fucking grows…

      They employ moronic drips who cannot even hold the tools correctly never mind use them.

      The lot should be fucking shot and the houses back under council control instead of this shower of pocket lining inconsiderate arrogant twats.

  10. Pingback: George Osborne says that the UK economy is growing so we should disregard his crocodile tears that we are in this all together | gingerblokeblog

  11. Pingback: London Homelessness Soars In First Three Months...

  12. Hopefully Ms Rolnik will check back & be able to read some of the comments too …

  13. rainbowwarriorlizzie
  14. The Right Honourable George Iain Duncan Smith

    God willing a hard winter will kill off and permanently rid us of some of these benefit scrounging scum. I look forward to celebrating Christmas with my family feeling more contented and pleased with my handiwork than usual.

  15. there was a comment here about liveing in a trailer i wish i could live in a trailer it would be so much easyer to heat and run i currently live in a slum studio flat ,lol,lol,lol,[sob] in shepards bush an overcrowded slum multiple ocupansey house converted into unfit for purpus studio flats that are a fire risk as well as being freezing and damp in the winter ,hot and wet in the summer and at £999.80 per mounth its an expencive slum.imon jsa at the mo so until a wellish paid job comes theres no chance of moveing…a caravan or trailer sounds like paradice independant liveing.quiet ,private..heaven,lol you can pick old caravans up for nothing a bit of hard work and tlc and there you go ….ooops silly silly silly me i forgot every tiny square inch of land in this country is owned by someone or something..and of course they want money.

  16. Pingback: Backlash To Benefit Bashing Is Only Just Beginning | the void

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