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Housing

Thousands to receive extra housing support as eviction ban ends

Higher levels of support are now available for anyone who has ever experienced homelessness and people under 25 who were once part of the care system.

Thousands of vulnerable young people could receive extra help to pay their rent under fast-tracked changes to housing benefits announced by the government, as charities warn of a “tsunami” of renters being thrown out of their homes with the end of the eviction ban.

Higher levels of support are now available through the share accommodation rate for anyone who has ever experienced homelessness and people under 25 who were once part of the care system, up from the previous age cap of 22, under changes to the shared accommodation rate for solo renters.

The measures, which were originally planned to come into effect in October 2023, are a “huge boost” and “hugely welcome”, said Paul Noblet, head of public affairs at youth homelessness charity Centrepoint.

“This is a change we have campaigned for over many years so it is hugely welcome to see it happen and take effect almost two years sooner than originally planned,” Noblet said.

“Being eligible for this higher level of benefit will be a huge boost to the care leavers and homeless young people Centrepoint supports. They will now have a real chance to move on and live independently without the fear of falling into debt or being evicted because they can’t afford rental payments.”

The announcement comes after government statistics revealed more than 700,000 households do not receive enough money from universal credit each month to cover their rent. Debt charity StepChange believes there were almost half a million households behind on their rent in January 2021.

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Young people make up the majority of private renters and have been hit hardest by the economic impact of the pandemic as hospitality and retail jobs dry up. Landlords have been banned from evicting tenants in England for all reasons except anti-social behaviour, but that emergency policy comes to an end on May 31.

Minister for Welfare Delivery Will Quince said: “These changes are an immediate boost for some of the most vulnerable young people in our communities.

“We know that having a safe, secure home is vital to getting on your feet and often into work. By bringing these changes in early, we’re able to help more people right now, as we all look to recover from the pandemic.”

This article has been updated to clarify the extra support is accessible via the shared accommodation rate housing benefit.

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