Housing Benefit and night shelters
To: Lord Freud, Minster responsible for Welfare Reform
Dear Lord Freud, Changes in government policy now threaten night shelters who are dependent on housing benefit to survive, with closure. This petition is calling on you to make an allowance in the application of the recently changed definition of "dwelling", so that housing benefit can be paid to night shelters who provide emergency overnight accommodation for homeless people. This money provides vital funding to night shelters, and they may close if this funding is withdrawn, inflicting needless pain on society’s most vulnerable people.
Why is this important?
Until February 2013, night shelters qualified as a "dwelling" and were therefore eligible to receive housing benefit payments for each night they accommodated a homeless person, providing night shelters with a significant proportion of their income. Following a court ruling (“the Anglesey Judgment”) night shelters now fall outside the definition of a "dwelling". In practice, this means that local authorities can now refuse to pay housing benefit to night shelters on the grounds that they don’t provide the ability for the homeless person to stay for at least 24 hours in a space where they can leave their belongings, and come back to the following day. But night shelters have to close during the day, so that the people who run them can sleep. What’s worse is that across the country, local authorities are interpreting the Anglesey Judgement differently. Some have stopped paying, insisting that’s the law, while others haven’t and are satisfied they can continue to pay housing benefit. The state of confusion is such that night shelters are now vulnerable to budget cuts at the whim of their local authority. There is no long term stability, so they can’t invest in their futures. And homeless people are being ever more marginalised and dispossessed. Please add your voice to this campaign and demand that homeless people get the support they need.
How it will be delivered
Deliver in person.
Last signed by:
hannah c.2014-02-26 16:24:24 -0500
Frances W.2014-02-19 06:01:43 -0500
Ryan W.2014-02-17 16:36:30 -0500
donna y.2014-02-11 20:32:47 -0500
Bob S.2014-02-08 09:36:13 -0500
Dawn M.2014-02-02 14:09:26 -0500
marc p.2014-02-01 12:13:01 -0500
mark m.2014-01-30 21:12:55 -0500
matthew p.2014-01-28 15:50:14 -0500
Chris P.2014-01-28 00:59:01 -0500