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Women's Aid concerns over Universal Credit and Housing Benefit changes

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Women's Aid concerns over Universal Credit and Housing Benefit changes

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

Women's Aid concerns over Universal Credit and Housing Benefit changes Women's Aid concerns over Universal Credit and Housing Benefit changes

Charity Women's Aid has voiced concerns over the implementation of Universal Credit and changes to Housing Benefit.

The charity believes that the new proposals could have a detrimental impact on the provision of refuge services.

Women’s Aid is concerned that the proposed regulations will result in refuges receiving less in rental income from residents, and any rent they do receive via survivors in receipt of Universal Credit is likely to be less frequent, leading to cash flow problems for refuge services.

There is a fear that this will lead to refuge services becoming financially unviable and will result in service closures and fragmentation of the national network. It is claimed that this will leave many adult and child survivors who want and need to flee from domestic violence with nowhere to go and at risk in their own homes.

Among its chief conerns are that the benefit cap on larger families may mean they will not be able to use refuge services and that the change from weekly to monthly assessments and payments will make it difficult for providers to collect rents.

Women's Aid recommends that survivors accommodated in refuge services should be exempt from the benefit cap and that payments of Housing Benefit and Universal Credit should be made directly and immediately to the refuge service for the full period of stay.

Whilst recognising that the Localism Agenda provides opportunities for councils to meet specific local needs, the charity states that domestic violence is a cross boundary issue and is most effectively responded to through a consistent approach across regions.

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