The economic storm brought on by the pandemic has left millions of people out of work or struggling to get by on vastly reduced hours, all the while trying to cover high rents. While the UK Government announced investment in housing benefit to help people in these difficult times, many families and individuals aren’t receiving this extra support because they are hit by the benefit cap.
We need to ensure that the welfare system supports people to keep a roof over their heads when they lose work due to the end of the furlough scheme, local lockdowns or because businesses shut down altogether.
The UK Government can give people a lifeline at the upcoming Spending Review by amending the benefit cap to prevent homelessness.
It is vital that people at risk of homelessness, sleeping rough or stuck in emergency accommodation are given the support and space they need to get back on their feet and escape homelessness. We’re calling for a 12-month protection period from the benefit cap for those at risk of homelessness because of a loss of work or income, and an exemption for those sleeping rough or stuck in emergency accommodation.
If the UK Government doesn’t act, we could see thousands of people pushed into homelessness as the full economic impact of the pandemic takes hold, and others stuck in emergency accommodation or forced to sleep rough with the virus still a risk. But together, we can ensure the welfare system works to keep everyone safe.
“The benefit cap is a HUGE barrier to many people we support at Crisis - especially single people. It can trap people in homelessness because the cost of rent plus basic living expenses is more than people can receive in benefits with the cap in place. One guy I was working with split up with his wife. He wanted to find somewhere to live close to his children, but he was priced out of everything locally as the benefit cap meant he just couldn't meet the rent.” – Tahmina, Crisis Housing Coach