Landlord warns sheltered homes could be under threat due to housing benefit cap

27.01.2016

Plus Dane’s Chief Executive Barbara Spicer has warned that sheltered housing schemes could be under threat if the Government goes ahead with cuts to housing benefits.

Current rules mean housing benefit is capped at 30% of the average rent in any particular area, but this only applies to private properties.

The Chancellor George Osborne has announced a new housing benefit cap to extend this to social housing as well from April 2018.

“It is still unclear whether this cap will be applied to vulnerable people - the elderly, homeless veterans and victims of domestic violence included,” said Ms Spicer.

“This would have a devastating effect on their housing and future prospects and could, in my view, end up costing the Treasury more in ‘whole system costs’ as people fall into higher levels of dependency. By way of example – we have evidence from some of our own work with people with multiple and complex needs which clearly demonstrates that intervention and support provided by us, at a relatively early stage, has saved substantial amounts of direct costs to the NHS.”

According to the National Housing Federation this change nationally would hit vulnerable people by an average of £68 a week and at least 82,000 homes for these groups would be forced to close. 

Plus Dane has over 2,000 supported and sheltered housing units across Cheshire and Merseyside. If the cap is applied, it is estimated that there will be an average annual shortfall of £2,100 per unit which would almost certainly result in Plus Dane having no option but to close some schemes.

The Government’s plans will be debated in the House of Commons today.