Two Rotherham homeless charities may have to close their doors, forcing around 110 vulnerable people back onto the streets, if the Government’s crude cuts to housing benefit are implemented.
Housing benefit cuts announced by George Osborne in his Autumn Statement mean providers of supported housing, including homelessness shelters, face a huge funding shortfall and will be forced to close services.
Rotherham council estimates that processing one application from a household presenting as homeless and providing temporary accommodation and support costs, on average, £3,500, putting the potential cost of these benefit changes at £385,000.
On top of that, the charities say another 70 people would lose out on vital support they receive to stay in their homes, which could also lead to evictions and homelessness.
Rush House and Target Housing, who have both been operating in the town for decades, warn that they will lose out on £8,000 a week collectively if the changes come in and will have to cut back services to a bare minimum, if not close altogether.
However, this is only the tip of the iceberg with 1,264 vulnerable and elderly people in Rotherham at risk of losing their supported housing.
That is why John visited the charities to discuss with staff and service users the full impact the changes will have locally.
He said: “If the Government carry on with this huge, across the board cut in housing benefit, it’s going to hit these schemes, like Rush House and Target, and they are going to have to close their doors. The people who will lose out will be some of the most vulnerable people in the country. But it also means that someone else will have to pick up the bill, and that will be the Council and council taxpayers. More people will end up in hospital or back in prison. So, it’s a short-term cut that will have long-term costs for the taxpayer as well as causing a lot of anguish for people that will be directly affected.”
Across the country 156,000 of these types of homes could be lost, according to the latest figures from the National Housing Federation.