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.