Benefit change may prompt rent arrears

A change in the way housing benefit will be paid will put poorer
households at a greater risk of amassing rent arrears and being
evicted, homelessness charity Shelter has warned.

It follows the launch of the final four pathfinder sites of the
local housing allowance scheme, which pays housing benefit to
tenants instead of giving them the option of money going directly
to private landlords. It now covers nine areas.

With one in six of the poorest households not having access to a
bank account, Shelter is concerned that thousands of people will
now have to pay their rent in cash, putting them at risk of getting
into arrears.

The scheme is being piloted in Edinburgh, North East Lincolnshire,
Conwy, Leeds, Brighton and Hove, Blackpool, Coventry, Teignbridge
and Lewisham.

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