Preventing homelessness through improving Local Housing Allowance

Housing Picture of key
ProjectsJanuary 18th, 2021

Changes to the social security system have greatly reduced the help with housing costs available to households without children: Local Housing Allowance (LHA) has been limited to the cheapest rents for many years, while under-35 year olds are only entitled to the shared accommodation rate. These changes have been identified as contributing to the increase in homelessness with homelessness amongst households without children in Wales rising by 12% between 2016/17 and 2018/19.

The housing system worsens the impact of LHA reform, for example through the shortage of accommodation and high local rent levels, and by landlord practices such as requirements for bonds, service charges, debt and affordability checks. Changes to the level of LHA therefore need take place alongside changes to the wider housing system if they are to prevent and relieve homelessness. With significant power over the housing system devolved to Wales there may be an opportunity to put part of the system right.


Our project will aim to:

  • prevent homelessness in Wales by better understanding the impact of LHA reform and its interface with the Welsh housing system
  • develop solutions to the issues we identify and campaign for reform. 

What we are doing

We are developing our understanding of the relationship between LHA and homelessness by:

  • Undertaking a data analysis of properties that are advertised for rent across Wales 
  • Holding conversations with local authority officials working in housing and homelessness teams
  • Holding conversations with people with lived experience of the homelessness system
  • Holding conversations with key stakeholders from the broader housing sector  

Key Outputs

A number of outputs have been developed through the project. Among the most significant are:

Report – Wales Housing Crisis: The Role of LHA

Report – Wales’ Housing Crisis: Making the LHA work for Wales 

Report – Wales’ Housing Crisis: an update on the private rental market in Wales

Report – Wales’ Housing Crisis: an update on the private rental market in summer 2022

Report – Holiday lets and the private rental sector

Report – Bevan Foundation and NRLA agree joint recommendations to improve private rental sector

In addition to our reports we have held a number of events. In July 2022 we held an event at Westminster to highlight our key findings, with a similar event held in the Senedd in October. We have also held two webinars, one on LHA specifically and one on our work on LHA and the short term holiday rental sector.  

We have also contributed to numerous consultations in areas related to the LHA. We have contributed to the Welsh Government’s ‘Ending homelessness: a high level action plan 2021 to 2026’ consultation , to the Local Government and Housing Committee inquiry into second homes, and to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness’ inquiry into progress towards Government rough sleeping target.


The project to date has had a significant impact. Among the noteworthy has been:

  • The UK Government uplifted the Local Housing Allowance back to the 30th percentile from April 2024.
  • Raising the profile of LHA reform as an issue in Wales with the item debated in the Senedd on a number of occasions. 
  • The Senedd Housing and Local Government committee have recommended that the Welsh Government take forward a number of our policy solutions. 
  • Raising the profile of LHA reform at a Westminster level with questions raised by Welsh MPs at the UK Parliament on LHA. 
  • Informing and influencing local authority practice on housing and homelessness. 
  • Raising the profile of LHA reform as an issue within the Welsh public more generally with our work covered in the written press on a number of occasions.  

Funder Lloyds Bank Foundation Logo

The project is funded by the Lloyd’s Bank Foundation. We are grateful to the Foundation for their support.  The project runs from January 2021 to April 2023.


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