Housing Associations Struggle To Re-Home Families
|Housing associations across the North East of England are warning they do not have enough of the right-sized homes for the thousands of displaced tenants who will fall foul of the new 'bedroom tax'.
As up to 50,000 families could be affected, one housing association alone estimates they have 2500 tenants who will be found to be under-occupying their homes, but only 16 spare one-bed houses to move them to.
The new 'bedroom tax', an under-occupation charge for people living in social housing who have a spare room, kicks in from April 2013. Tenants will have a choice of paying, on average, an extra £40 per month if they have one spare room, £70 per month if they have two, or move to a smaller home. Even households where every bedroom is in use may be hit with benefit cuts because under the strict new rules children will be expected to share bedrooms up to the age of 16.
The Department for Work and Pensions estimates that 670,000 households across Britain will be hit by these new measures.
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Monica Burns, North East manager for the National Housing Federation said: "These new rules are futile and unfair. Housing associations in the North East have always been encouraged by Government to build bigger homes so families could live in the same homes for life and didnít have to move when they had children. And as land was cheaper here that made good sense. Now those same tenants and housing associations are being penalised for having the wrong type of house.
"The welfare bill could even go up as a result. Many families on benefits will have no choice but to up sticks and move to private rented accommodation. The Government will then have to pay a higher rate of housing benefit to cover their rents for smaller homes. These are the consequences of a blanket top-down policy that failed to listen to local people."
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