Local Housing Allowance/Shared Accommodation Rate: Centrepoint Campaign

Thank you for contacting me about the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) and the Local Housing Allowance as they affect young people..

Colleagues tell me that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has no plans at present to extend the exemption from the SAR to people aged under 25. I would note that there are already a number of exemptions to the SAR, such as for those with children or non-dependents, certain homeless people, those requiring overnight care, and those on the daily living component of a Personal Independence Payment. The DWP has also provided over £1 billion in Discretionary Housing Payment funding since 2011, enabling local authorities to protect the most vulnerable.

The Government is committed to end rough sleeping for good, with the aim of halving it by 2022.

The cross-government Rough Sleeping Strategy was published set out an ambitious £100 million package to help people who sleep rough now, but also puts in place the structures that will end rough sleeping once and for all. In the recent Spending Round, the Chancellor committed £422 million in funding to help reduce homelessness and rough sleeping. £263 million was announced in December for 2020-21 to help local authorities tackle homelessness in our communities, coupled with an extra £112 million for the Rough Sleeping Initiative.

The Government launched the Rapid Rehousing Pathway to help rough sleepers and those at risk of rough sleeping. The Pathway includes Somewhere Safe to Stay Hubs, where people can shelter while their housing and support needs are assessed. The Pathway provides support to local lettings agencies to help rough sleepers into affordable settled accommodation.

I know this is not the answer you are hoping for, but I can assure you that action is being taken to tackle homelessness and I will continue to support improvements.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Craig Whittaker MP

February 2020