CIH Cymru responds to the announcement delaying LHA to supported accommodation
In the 2015 autumn statement it was announced that when assessing the eligibility for housing benefit and universal credit, local housing allowance (LHA) would apply to all social rents from 1 April 2018, for tenants who had signed new tenancies from 1 April 2016.
Last month CIH Cymru signed an open letter to Lord Freud, the UK government's minister for welfare reform, with six other Welsh housing organisations to raise serious concerns about the potential impact of this decision for providers of supported housing in Wales. Potentially this change would affect more than 80 per cent of the 35,000 Welsh supported housing units delivered by social landlords, impacting on many people who may be escaping domestic abuse, experiencing mental health problems or be at risk of homelessness.
Yesterday the government announced that it will put in place a one year exemption to tenants in supported accommodation until April 2017 to allow ministers time to analyse the results of a research project into supported housing costs before new tenants are affected.
Responding to yesterday’s announcement CIH Cymru director Kevin Howell said “We are pleased to hear that the government will be delaying the application of LHA to supported accommodation rents, in order to consider evidence from this review. As we made clear in our letter to the Minister supported housing in Wales makes a vital contribution to our most vulnerable citizens.”
“This review must take into account the cost benefit of providing additional support through specialist housing; introducing a cap based on local housing allowance may make supported housing unviable in Wales and delay planned investment in these much needed services leaving tens of thousands of people without the support that they require.”