Friday, 4 July 2014

Who can afford a roof over their head?

Fewer than two in every 10 homes for sale in England are affordable for working families on average wages. And in some areas, would-be buyers are priced out completely, even if they can raise a sizeable deposit, according to figures from Shelter that underline the extent of the housing crisis. Rocketing house prices in some regions, combined with stagnant wage growth, have combined to push homes out of the reach of buyers, so much so that in more than half the country fewer than one in 10 of the suitable homes on the market was affordable to families who could put a typical 18% deposit towards their purchase.

In London, rocketing house prices mean that in 14 boroughs there is not a single property that a family on average wages can afford.  Shelter found that in all 32 of the capital's boroughs fewer than 10% of homes were affordable to couples with children. For single buyers, this figure extended to the entire south-east and south-west.

Homeless Jobseekers To Be Granted Temporary Reprieve From Benefit Sanctions

Homeless jobseekers, and those in supported accommodation, are to be granted exemptions from benefit sanctions in new legislation that was brought before parliament (20 June 2014), Inside Housing has reported.

Under the new legislation, which comes into force from 21 July 2014, homeless jobseekers found to be in ‘domestic emergency’ will not be required to look for work or partake in work related activity, such as the Work Programme, while they attempt to find somewhere to live.
The temporary reprieve from being required to ‘actively’ look for work, and the ever-present looming threat of having their benefits docked if they fail to do so, is expected to last for up to four weeks, during which time rough sleepers must be able to demonstrate that they are taking reasonable actions to find new accommodation which really amounts to more pressure placed on a homeless person as if affordable accommodation was plentiful.

The new legislation comes less than a year after research by Homeless Link discovered that as many as 31% of homeless Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants had been affected by benefit sanctions, compared to just 3% of ‘typical claimants’.

According to the research, the loss of benefit resulted in 87% being forced to turn to food banks and 62% turned to crime in order to survive.

It still remains unclear as to whether four weeks will be sufficient enough time for many homeless jobseekers to find a place to live, or what effect it may have on their future benefit payments if they are unsuccessful.

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