Benefit cut will cost Hartlepool’s most vulnerable tenants almost £500,000 a year, fears housing association

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill

Government plans to cap housing support payments could cost Hartlepool’s most vulnerable residents almost half a million pounds a year, says a leading housing association.

Accommodation in extra care schemes is often paid for by housing benefit, which currently sees both the rent and ‘eligible charges’ covered in full.

Any shortfall will leave the most vulnerable, like the elderly and disabled, struggling to make up the difference potentially leading to them losing the roof over their heads.

Mike Hill

Thirteen, which provides extra care accommodation at its Bamburgh Court and Laurel Gardens developments, says Governmenst plans to apply the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) cap from April 2019 could mean people losing their homes.

The association says the change would see tenants having to find on average an extra £20 per week in a sheltered scheme, £70 in an extra care scheme and £90 in supported housing - upwards of £5,000 per year in some schemes.

The association says the move would cost its tenants £3.3million a year across the North East - including an estimated £472,000 in Hartlepool.

Chief executive Ian Wardle said: “It is important that we continue to provide high quality, modern homes with the right care and support for people in their own home, so they can live as independently as possible.

“There is so much uncertainty that surrounds the future funding for supported housing, which is why we’ve got behind The National Housing Federation’s Starts at Home campaign to persuade the Government to commit to ensuring that every person who needs extra support has a home that meets their needs.”

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill, who this week highlighted the figure in a House of Commons debate, said: “The Government is currently reviewing the provision of supported housing funding in light of rising demand for care and support.

“Any shortfall will leave the most vulnerable, like the elderly and disabled, struggling to make up the difference potentially leading to them losing the roof over their heads.

“That is simply unacceptable and the Government needs to address this as a matter of urgency.”