DWP slashes funding for disability supported housing and homeless hostels

The reduction in payments over three years was described by one charity as ‘unexpected’

The Government has announced an “unexpected” cut to funding for disability supported housing and homeless accommodation – arguing that the services need to make “efficiency savings”.

The supported accommodation services and others like them are mostly funded by housing benefit payments, administered through the welfare system.

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green confirmed on Thursday that the DWP would cut the rent that supported housing providers – mostly charities – can claim back from the benefits system.

The changes, which will see an annual, rolling 1 per cent reduction in the rent payments for three years, will cost providers millions, with budgets already under pressure from years of sharp cuts to local councils.

Though some “specialist” providers, such as women’s refuges, are exempt, other charities have said the changes threaten the future viability of their services for vulnerable people.

“The Government’s proposals will compromise the right for people with a learning disability to live independently, and must be reconsidered urgently,” Dan Scorer, head of policy at the learning disabilities charity Mencap, warned after the announcement.

Meanwhile Howard Sinclair, the chief executive of the homelessness charity St Mungo’s, said the cut would leave the homeless charity with £3 million a year less to spend on services.

“The rent reduction will threaten the financial viability of some of our hostels and other supported housing schemes and offers no direct benefit to vulnerable tenants who mostly rely on housing benefit to cover their housing costs,” he said.

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