Homelessness in Hackney "a crisis entirely of the government’s own making"

New research from the homelessness charity Crisis calling on government to tackle homelessness by restoring the link between housing benefit rates and private rent levels has been backed by Hackney Council.

The report Cover the Cost: Restoring Local Housing Allowance rates to prevent homelessness sets out the impact of changes to Local Housing Allowance rates (also known as Housing Benefit) on homelessness, with a series of cuts leading to increased use of temporary accommodation as councils struggle to prevent and end homelessness due to a lack of affordable housing options.

Cllr Rebecca Rennison, Cabinet Member for Finance and Housing Needs
The government’s continued refusal to match housing benefit to real housing costs is leaving thousands of families in Hackney without a home.

More than 3,000 families in Hackney are now living in temporary accommodation because they can no longer find an affordable place to live, at huge cost to their family lives and the taxpayer.

At a time when rents in Hackney have soared the government has cut and capped housing benefit for those on a low income - creating a perfect storm which means just one in 20 privately rented homes are affordable for families who rely on housing benefit, down from one in two less than a decade ago. 

As the research from Crisis makes clear, this is a crisis entirely of the government’s own making, and with clear solutions that could lift thousands of families in Hackney and elsewhere out of homelessness.
Cllr Rebecca Rennison, Cabinet Member for Finance and Housing Needs

Housing in Hackney: Stats

  • Private rent levels in Hackney have increased 47% in Hackney since 2011

  • Property values have increase 472% in Hackney over the last 20 years - the highest rise in the UK

  • On average only 5% of privately rented homes in Hackney are available within LHA rates

  • There are over 13,000 families on the waiting list for social housing in Hackney, including over 3,000 in temporary accommodation. Only around 1,000 social rented homes become available each year.

  • Expenditure on temporary accommodation has risen from £7.2 million in 2017-18 to £9.35 million in 2018-19.