SHOCKING new figures have revealed the impact of Government cuts to housing benefit with Wigan MP Lisa Nandy saying they put over 1,500 supported accommodation places in Wigan potentially at risk.
These include sheltered accommodation for the elderly, homelessness hostels, specialist housing for former members of the armed forces and refuges for victims of domestic violence.
Across the country, it is estimated that 82,000 specialist homes could become unviable with a recent survey suggesting that 95 per cent of supported housing organisations could have to close some accommodation.
The new cap on housing benefit for social tenants comes into force for new tenancies in April and will be equivalent to the local housing allowance rate for private rented tenants.
Government ministers have so far refused to grant any exemptions in the cuts to housing benefit, even for tenants who require specialist housing including vulnerable and elderly tenants.
Analysis by housing associations has shown that over 440,000 homes could be affected with an average loss of almost £3,000 per year.
Wigan MP Ms Nandy has likened the changes to the Bedroom Tax.
She said: “If the Government presses ahead with these shameful plans, over 1,000 vulnerable people in Wigan may be forced out of their homes and could become homeless.
“We owe a duty of care to older people, homeless teenagers and women fleeing domestic violence.
“Instead, across the country charities and housing associations who provide specialist housing for them may be forced to close.
“This policy is similar in scale to the Bedroom tax and Ministers must think again before they inflict devastating harm on some of the most vulnerable people in society.”