For people renting privately, housing benefit is broken.
“The safety net once provided by Housing Benefit, whereby post housing incomes were protected from erosion below basic benefit levels, has now effectively ended for the bulk of private tenants in receipt of benefit across the country”Homelessness Monitor: England 2019
We spend c.£22 billion per year on housing benefit
Which is around 1% of GDP
But the amount going to people renting from private landlords has decreased in recent years
Even as the number of households renting privately has increased, meaning a smaller pot is being spread thinly.
If this continues, we will see more and more people experiencing homelessness.
Housing benefit is not well loved. Labour wants to talk about Council housing and the Tories want to talk about owning your own house. But it’s an important part of our safety net.
We only have to look at the situation in America to see how bad things can get.
In the States the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program (formerly known as Section 8) helps only 2.2 million low-income households with the cost of their rent. 3 in 4 households who are eligible for the voucher do not receive it because the fund is starved of cash.
This goes a large part of the way to explaining why there are 60,000 homeless people in LA.
We must insure we do not move in this direction.