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Raise housing support to prevent homelessness, say boroughs

Around 60,000 Londoners living in the private rented sector are likely to become homeless over the next six years if the government maintains the freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA), according to new analysis for London Councils.

The cross-party group has commissioned independent research from Alma Economics that estimates an additional 16,500 to 22,000 London households will become homeless by 2030 unless LHA is raised.

London Councils calculates that 22,000 households equates to 58,740 individuals – including 28,000 children. One in seven London private renters are reliant on LHA to meet their housing costs.

Alma Economics’ research suggests restoring LHA to cover at least 30% of local market rents would save the public finances in London more than £100m each year. Most of these savings would come from reduced pressure on London boroughs’ homelessness services, but also from lower costs to other parts of the public sector such as the NHS and social care.

Amid worsening homelessness pressures in the capital, London Councils is urging the government to end the freeze on LHA. The policy measure is one of the group’s top priorities in its submission to the government’s upcoming Autumn Statement, which will set out future spending plans.

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