IDS benefit sanctions drive more UK under 25s to homelessness

Tony Gosling tony at
Wed Nov 19 01:08:47 GMT 2014

Controversial benefit sanctions driving more young people to 
homelessness, charity warns

Welfare reforms blamed in sharply rising number of cases

Author Biography
 Wednesday 19 November 2014

An increasing number of young people are being made homeless after 
running into financial problems caused by the Government's 
controversial welfare reforms, according to a report published today.

The survey of more than 200 homelessness charities and council 
agencies across England uncovered clear signs that the Coalition's 
tougher regime of benefit sanctions is driving young people out of their homes.

Reports of homelessness among under 25s who had experienced benefit 
reductions have increased sixfold in the space of a year, from 1.7 
per cent of cases in 2013 to 10 per cent in 2014, the charities said. 
More than 90 per cent of providers also reported that the sanctions 
had affected young people's ability to access new accommodation.

In 2012, the Department for Work and Pensions brought in a tougher 
sanctions regime for those claiming Job Seekers Allowance and 
Employment Support Allowance, increasing the requirements needed to 
qualify for the benefits and the amount of time for which claimants 
can be penalised.

The research was carried out by Homeless Link, the umbrella body for 
homelessness organisations. Rick Henderson, the group's chief 
executive, said: "We know that early experience of homelessness can 
lead to the development of significant problems in later life, and 
for young people who find themselves in crisis, the benefits system 
should provide a safety net to help prevent this from happening. It 
is therefore concerning that young people are being forced into 
homelessness due to their benefits being reduced or stopped.

"Nearly all the charities we spoke to reported that young people were 
being affected by benefits being cut. We urge the DWP to take the 
recommendations in the report seriously and ensure that those in most 
need are not pushed further into destitution."

A Government spokesman said: "The reality is homelessness is down 
year on year by two per cent and our welfare reforms are improving 
the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities. 
Sanctions are only used in a small number of cases as a last resort, 
with a well-established system of hardship provision available for 
sanctioned claimants."

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