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Councils putting aside money from Discretionary Housing Fund - Turn2us

Inside housing news item on the Discretionary Housing FundAccording to a news report by the website Inside Housing, local councils are putting aside money from their Discretionary Housing Payments fund. This is because they anticipate an enormous increase in need next year when more benefits changes come into effect, such as the benefit cap and Universal Credit.

65% of the 379 local councils in Great Britain have collectively put aside almost £8 million of last year's £30 million Discretionary Housing Payments fund. This was sanctioned last year as a 'one off' by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) following an appeal by several authorities worried about an expected rise in demand for help next year.

This month, the DWP has announced that it will monitor the way councils are using DHP, having increased the fund from £60 million a year to £165 million in 2013/2014. Councils will have to record the reason for DHP awards and submit returns twice a year.

Housing experts have suggested that this shows that the Government is concerned that the welfare reforms will increase homelessness.

The DWP has said it will "work with councils to make the best use of this resource" and monitoring will ensure that help is given to those who most need it.

Read the Inside Housing report (link opens in a new window)

Department for Work and Pensions public consultation into Discretionary Housing Payments

The DWP is currently running a public consultation about the Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) guidance manual that DWP provides to local authorities. The current guidance has been updated following changes in welfare benefits such as the introduction of Universal Credit and abolition of Council Tax Benefit from April 2013.

Although primarily aimed at local authorities who are responsible for administering DHPs, the DWP also welcomes views from anyone with an interest in DHPs such as claimants, landlords or welfare organisations.

You need to submit your views by 31 August 2012

Find out more about the Discretionary Housing Payment consultation (link opens in a new window)

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