Whilst the Govt are proposing to cap housing benefit payments to social housing tenants various organisations that support vulnerable people say this could lead to an increase in homelessness.  Housing, support and sometimes care services are often provided as an integrated service.  So it is felt that the cap on the local housing allowance could lead to widespread bed closures triggering an increase in rough sleeping as the financial viability of shelters and supported housing is threatened.  We understand that the proposals are being deferred for 12 months whilst a review takes place.  However the Govt has announced additional funding to help tackle homelessness and rough sleeping to include cash to provide additional accommodation places for rough sleepers to move on from crisis hostels and for homelessness prevention projects.

Ministers are also considering a new legal 'prevention duty' on Councils to force them to help the growing numbers of rough sleepers and single people on the brink of homelessness.  This would mean Local Authorities in England will have to provide all residents who are homeless or who are at risk of losing their homes with practical assistance to maintain a tenancy or find a suitable place to live.  Official data shows numbers of rough sleeping in England has doubled since 2010.

In Wolverhampton the latest figures of those people sleeping rough on average each night in the City centre is between 15 and 18, however it is thought to have been as much as 25, but it is not known how many bed down in parks and other spots beyond the City centre.  The number of people in Wolverhampton who are technically homeless is around 250 and this includes those who depend on the hospitality of friends and family but have no registered address and so they cannot claim benefits.

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