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15 June 2016

CHC and WLGA Viable Housing Model Research

Community Housing Cymru (CHC) and the Welsh Local Government Association's (WLGA) latest research report entitled ‘Feasibility study of the prospect of developing a viable housing model for those entitled only to access the shared accommodation rate’ has been undertaken by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research.

This research report was commissioned following the announcement about changes to Housing Benefit which will impact on young single people aged under 35, who will have their housing benefit capped at the level deemed necessary to rent a room in a shared house. Other changes include the removal of automatic entitlement to Housing Benefit for some 18-21 year olds.

In future, most of this group will be restricted in the amount of benefit they can claim, with average shortfalls of around £21 per week between their housing benefit entitlement and their rent. Young people are very unlikely to be able to make up this level of shortfall from their benefit income or earnings and Discretionary Housing Payments are unlikely to be sufficient to help most.

We jointly commissioned the report to see what Local Authorities and Housing Associations in Wales can do to increase the provision of affordable accommodation for young single people under 35 in the social housing sector, which is economically viable. The research drew on a survey of young people in Wales, focus groups, interviews with key stakeholders, including landlords, and analysis of data on current living patterns.

The research report proposes the following key recommendations:

  • An increase in education and promotion of shared housing as the main economically viable option for single young people on low incomes or benefits
  • Removing barriers to shared housing, at UK, Welsh and local levels.
  • Funding for the development and ongoing management of housing for young single people
  • The promotion of good practice in developing and managing shared housing

The research and recommendations will be discussed in detail at the report's launch event on Friday 17th June. CHC and WLGA will continue to work closely with Welsh Government following the release of this report to consider the research findings and progress the recommendations and will keep members informed on how this work develops.

Read the full research report here.