The Wallich has joined organisations from across the Welsh housing and homelessness sectors to call on the UK Government to rethink their proposed changes to the housing element of benefit due to come into force in April 2018. We are deeply concerned about the effect these changes will have on services supporting the most vulnerable people in Wales.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that the housing element of benefit for those living in the social sector, including those living in supported housing, will be capped at the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) level from April 2018. In practice this will amount to a significant loss of funding for supported housing services such as hostels, which rely on higher housing element benefit payments to cover the costs of providing round the clock support.
Lord Freud has announced that this loss of funding will be mitigated by an additional £35m of Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) funding being made available to councils in 2018-19 and 2019-20. However, this is likely to be well below the amount required to make up for the cut in funding to services and it is estimated that £30m will be required in Wales alone.
Read our Open Letter to Lord Freud and please write to your MP if you share our concern over the changes to the housing element of benefit.