Almost everyone experiencing homelessness in England will be affected by the current raft of changes to the welfare system – but are local authorities prepared to support them through it?
That is the question the charity Homeless Link, is still asking, following the publication of its latest research, ‘How prepared are local authorities for Welfare Reform?’
Homeless Link interviewed 42 local authorities to find out what their priorities were for single, homeless people. However, the charity claims the responses they received were “troubling, if not necessarily surprising”.
The charity claims all the local authorities were aware of the proposed welfare reform, but the level of engagement differed between authorities. Many described a lack of accurate information about welfare changes. Most local authorities claimed they were unaware what other local authorities were doing, and felt worried that they were unprepared.
Alice Evans, Homeless Link’s head of policy analysis said, “What the report highlights is that many local authorities are really struggling with the additional burdens placed on them by administering the majority of these changes, at a time when they are experiencing unprecedented levels of cuts to their budgets.
“They are faced with tough decisions about which groups to prioritise for support versus broader support for the whole community.”
Alice concluded, “Unless these challenges are recognised and local authorities supported there’s a real risk that welfare reform changes will lead to increased homelessness, indebtedness and greater vulnerabilities. We are continuing to collect information and best practice from local authorities to share this with others. We will also be monitoring the impact of the welfare reform changes on homeless people.”
- Read Homeless Links’ ‘How prepared are local authorities for Welfare Reform?’