On Thursday November 21st, we’ve had a chat with Jamie Palmer who gives housing and benefit advice for private renters at Toynbee Hall. We wanted to explore how private renters in Tower Hamlets are affected by the benefit cuts.
The Benefit Cap alone presents a huge challenge to hundreds of private renters in Tower Hamlets putting many families at risk of becoming homeless. With the cap, the average weekly wage for single claimants is £350 per week, for couples and children £500. 376 private-renting households have been affected by the benefit cap in Tower Hamlets, said Jeremy. This means 973 children. 126 households loose more than £100 a week because of the cap, 90 households loose between £50 – £100 a week.
He pointed out, that these figures do not include approximately 400 households in temporary privately rented accommodation and B&Bs that the council of Tower Hamlets has a legal duty to house. The council has guaranteed to pay for temporary accommodations until the end of March 2014.
Jeremy predicted that evictions in Tower Hamlets will increase “significantly” over the next six months. The council will struggle to find suitable temporary accommodation due to large amount of families that they will have to place. Many London boroughs are competing to procure accommodation, he said. He also expects debts to increase. The overcrowding will get worse, because families have to move together.
The housing crisis will get worse in Tower Hamlets. Regarding this very difficult outlook, we agreed on cooperating in the future to support and empower private renters in the borough. Jamie will come along to one of our next meetings to link up.
If you don’t have a magic money tree, it’s quite
difficult to survive on benefits nowadays… That’s how we promoted our gathering in nearly 30 estates around the Unite Community Centre.
The local charity Toynbee Hall is located in Commercial Street provides a free advice service and support for private renters affected by the changes to the welfare system.