Briefing: Westminster Hall Debate on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates and homelessness

By: Reshima Sharma
Published: February 2020

Briefing: Westminster Hall Debate on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and homelessness

Shelter is the UK’s largest housing and homelessness charity. Last year we gave information, support and advice to millions of people experiencing bad housing and homelessness. We support people who have experienced multiple problems with housing benefit for private rents. They are regularly being forced to make up shortfalls, where their housing benefit (or Local Housing Allowance) does not cover their private rents.

The government has announced that from April 2020, Local Housing Allowance will be unfrozen and raised in line with the Consumer Price Index (1.7%). While any increase is welcome, Shelter research shows that the proposed increase will not come close to covering the vast shortfalls people face, which continue to push more and more people towards homelessness. Local Housing Allowance is no longer fit for purpose and the rates must be raised to once again reflect at least the bottom 30th percentile (i.e. the cheapest 30%) of local market rents. There needs to be a robust mechanism going forward that ensures LHA rates continue to cover at least the 30th percentile of local rents.