Preventing homelessness through improving Local Housing Allowance

Poverty 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.

 

Outputs

In the autumn of 2021, we published our first report looking analysing our first batch of data. You can read our Wales Housing Crisis: The Role of LHA report in full here

Following this, we published our second report, focusing on the experiences of tenants in the private rental sector. You can read our Wales’ Housing Crisis: Making the LHA work for Wales report in full here

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.

We have also published several opinion pieces exploring the complexities of the LHA issues

The freeze in local housing allowance could increase homelessness in Wales

How might the surge in ‘staycations’ be affecting renters in Wales?

Refugees and the need to reform the Local Housing Allowance

Our project has additionally featured in the media and been debated in the Senedd. 

 

Project Aims

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. 

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 September 2022.

 

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