Sunday 15 April 2012

Brent homelessness on the rise and worse to come

The extent of Brent's housing crisis is set out in stark terms in a report going before the Council Executive on April 23rd. LINK

Brent Council is expecting to receive 440 homeless applications in the final quarter of this year, the highest since 2007-8.  The rise in demand follows government changes in the Local Housing Allowance which caps the maximum payable for different sizes of accommodation.

While some landlords have accepted a decrease in rental income as a result, others have not and are have evicted tenants; withdrawing from the market or letting to other types of households.

Total current demand on the Housing Register, including homeless households in temporary accommodation and the Transfer list is just over 18.500 households.  In contrast the Council expects only 871 lettings into permanent housing tenancies (Council and Housing Association) by the end of 2011-12. At the end of February 2012 there was a total of 3,136 households in temporary accommodation and this is expected to rise. At the same time the amount of subsidy  the Council receives from central government for self-contained temporary accommodation has been capped and the Council has to meet any shortfall.  The Council has hitherto sought to provide such accommodation within the borough but to minimise costs there has been an increase in out of borough placements, particularly for larger households. Between February 2012 and March 2012 out of borough placements rose from 104 to 120 and the figure is forecast to rise significantly in the future.

As a result of these pressures Executive members are being asked to approve letting projections based on different demand groups. (Appendix D) of the document.

The report assesses the likely impact of the Overall Benefit Cap. The Department of Work and Pensions forecast that in Brent around 3,500 households would be affected. Brent initially though that larger households in the private sector would affected but having worked through some examples they think it wlil be smaller households. For example a couple with three children living in the south of Brent in a 3 bedroomed property could have a £100 weekly shortfall in their housing benefit.

The Council's revised 2011-12 budget for expenditure on temporary accommodation is £2,306,000 which includes a housing benefit subsidy budget loss of £500,000.  As a result of the pressures outlined officers are now forecasting an overspend in the current financial year of £354,000. The temporary accommodation budget for 2012-13 is £3,440,000 in order to mange cost pressures and increased demand. Although the Council expects to break even they state: 'there continue to be significant risks attached to the Council's ability to control demand led pressures..while ensuring statutory duties are met'.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

its absolutely disgusting,me and my family have been waiting 11 yrs in brent for permanent housing and still nothing! we are now going to be made homeless because our landlord is selling the property and rent prices have risen so much we cant afford to rent privately. they have to tackle this issue, build more affordable homes, have a cut off point to how long people should be waiting on the list. its getting worse and this new government have set out one rule and not looked at every bodys circumstances. im not budging from brent!!