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Housing costs for 'exempt accommodation' to be met outside Universal Credit

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Housing costs for 'exempt accommodation' to be met outside Universal Credit

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Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government

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The Government has added further detail around the funding arrangements for those living in supported exempt accommodation under Universal Credit as the regulations for the new benefit system were laid in Parliament today.

In its response to the Social Security Advisory Committee's (SSAC) recommendations to the draft Universal Credit regulations, it said it has decided that help towards housing costs for those living in supported exempt accommodation will be provided outside of Universal Credit.

The regulations were consulted upon over the summer by the SSAC.

It follows the chancellor's announcement last week in his Autumn Statement that no one living in supported exempt accommodation should be affected by the £500-a-week benefit cap within Universal Credit.

'Supported exempt accommodation' refers to a specific type of accommodation currently defined in legislation. That is either: a resettlement place; or accommodation provided by a county council, housing association registered charity or voluntary organisation where that body or person acting on their behalf provides the claimant with care, support or supervision.

The Government said: "Having considered the Committee’s recommendations, as well as listening to the views of stakeholders, the Government has decided that help towards housing costs for those living in supported exempt accommodation will be provided outside of Universal Credit.

"This means that organisations such as homeless hostels and women’s refuges that come within the ambit of this provision will continue to receive help on a similar basis to now. This will remove the difficulties associated with monthly awards in Universal Credit and provide a flexible system to help meet the higher costs often associated with providing this type of accommodation."

It said in the short term this help will be delivered broadly as now through local authorities under existing DWP legislation and funding arrangements.

"This means that people living in supported accommodation will still be able to claim and receive Universal Credit to meet other living costs but help with their housing costs will be provided for separately," the Government said. "For the longer term the Department is exploring the feasibility of a localised funding system. This is because local knowledge is essential to help identify this often diverse group, build effective relationships with providers and ensure that resources are targeted effectively at those who need it."

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