Up to 60,000 Londoners renting privately could be on the brink of homelessness over the next six years if the government does not address the housing benefit freeze, according to a report commissioned by London Councils, representing the 32 boroughs and the City of London. The report estimates that between 16,500 and 22,000 households in the capital are at risk of losing their homes by 2030 unless the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) freeze, initiated in 2016, is lifted.
Urgent Call to Raise Local Housing Allowance
London Council is urging the government to take immediate action in its upcoming Autumn Statement by ending the freeze on LHA and adjusting it to reflect the current local rents. Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Council’s executive member for regeneration, housing, and planning, emphasises the critical role of increasing LHA, stating that it is essential for tackling the growing homelessness crisis in London.
Financial Impact and Urgent Need for Government Response
A report by experts reveals that raising LHA to cover at least 30% of local market rents could result in saving over £100 million annually in the public sector, mainly by reducing the demand for homelessness services provided by boroughs. The report calls for an emergency response similar to the one implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic, emphasising that an increase in LHA will help low-income households meet their rent obligations, preventing the devastating consequences of homelessness.
In a city already grappling with significant homelessness challenges, with over 170,000 Londoners currently homeless and living in temporary accommodation, London Councils warns that the situation is becoming increasingly unmanageable. The group highlights the overspending of homelessness budgets by £90 million this year alone and emphasises the urgency for government intervention to address the deepening crisis in the capital's private rented sector.
As London Councils presses for the end of the LHA freeze in the Autumn Statement, the focus remains on preventing a potential surge in homelessness and providing support for those at risk in the years ahead.
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