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Crisis backs call to ensure sanctions do not lead to homelessness

21.02.2017 431 XX

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National homelessness charity Crisis has today welcomed a report by the Committee of Public Accounts which says that 'suspending benefit payments can lead to rent arrears and homelessness'.

Crisis Chief Executive Jon Sparkes said: “The government must do more to ensure that benefit sanctions do not lead to homelessness. Though there are measures in place to ensure that people vulnerable to homelessness are protected, the report makes it clear that these are not working.

“We fully support the committee’s recommendations to issue a first warning before stopping someone's benefits and that the Government takes more robust measures to ensure that housing benefit is not wrongly stopped as a result of a sanction. Government must also make it a priority to evidence the impact of sanctions on vulnerable people so that this policy is not a driver of homelessness. Better communication between the Department for Work and Pensions and homelessness prevention services could stop people from becoming homeless due to a sanctionable offence.

“We also support the committee's recommendation to understand the housing related barriers to getting employment. With better monitoring in place the Department can make sure people get the support they need, rather than experience a sanction that puts them at risk of becoming homeless. We know from our own experience of helping hundreds of homeless people into work every year that this is only possible if we understand and help people address their housing need.”