Changes to housing benefits that could see a cap placed on the local housing allowance (LAH) could have a damaging impact on the health and well-being of vulnerable people living in sheltered and supported housing.
Research carried out by the National Housing Federation and published in the Sentinel yesterday revealed that 41% of all sheltered and supported housing could be affected with tenants losing, on average, £68 per week in benefits.
The cap on LHA could also see care homes and sheltered housing developments close causing distress for residents, some of whom may become homeless as a result.
Before Christmas North Staffs Green Party launched a campaign for social justice in the housing sector, as part of which party member Sean Adams spent a night sleeping rough outside the Civic Centre in Stoke to highlight the plight of homeless people.
Today, as part of their ongoing campaign the party wrote to the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to protest at the cap to LHA.
Campaigns Coordinator Adam Colclough said,: 'This is a massively unfair cut to the benefits of some of the most vulnerable members of society, people we should be supporting to live with dignity; not putting under unnecessary financial pressure.'
He added that ' as a volunteer for a local mental health charity I see a great many people who have been either made ill due to stress or had an existing condition made worse through the pressured associated with living on benefits. There is no question that this cap on LHA will have a devastating impact on the well-being of people who are already facing significant challenges.'
As part of its manifesto at the 2015 election the Green Party put forward a range of policies aimed at making the benefits system fairer and improving access to social housing. These include, building 500,000 good quality social homes and giving local authorities control over housing benefit budgets ,allowing them to design packages of support tailored to their specific area. The manifesto also included policies aimed at improving benefits for people with disabilities and their carers.
Campaigns Coordinator Adam Colclough said ' as a party we are committed to building a fairer and more sustainable society where every member is valued and able to live with dignity. Those values mean that we will fight the damaging austerity agenda of this government at every opportunity.'