Anger grows over Government’s ‘Making Teenagers Homeless’ policy

Opposition is growing to plans to take housing benefit away from young people next month.

Those aged between 18 and 21 will no longer qualify for housing benefit, and this housing element of Universal Credit will be removed, affecting young people in private rented sector homes such as house-shares.

It means that fewer people under 21 would have access to the private rented sector.

There will be a few exemptions, including those who would be at a significant risk of harm if they had to live at home.

However, homeless organisations and others say that these do not go far enough and that between 9,000 and 11,000 young people could be at risk of homelessness in just a few weeks’ time.

Labour shadow housing minister John Healey said the cut was disgraceful, and many young people could end up on the streets.

“These young people are old enough to fight for their country,” he said.

A DWP spokesperson said: “We want to make sure that 18 to 21-year-olds do not slip straight into a life on benefits.”

But the Residential Landlords Association called on the Government to back down on its plans.

It said it had surveyed over 1,000 landlords and that 76% said the measure would leave under-21s unable to pay rent, making landlords less willing to let property to this age group.

RLA vice-shairman Chris Town said: “Rented housing is crucial to enabling young people to quickly access work and education opportunities. By making it more difficult for them to secure rental properties, ministers are making such prospects increasingly difficult for them.”

Generation Rent yesterday tweeted: “If you’ve angry about the government’s Making Teenagers Homeless policy, there’s a march being planned on 1 April.”

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