York MP visits supported housing scheme on Seventh Avenue
York Central MP, Rachael Maskell, joined the chief executive of York Housing Association, Julia Histon, earlier this week for a visit to a scheme which provides supported housing for those with physical and learning disabilities at Seventh Avenue in York.
The visit was organised by York Housing Association to highlight current challenges facing the housing sector, not only in York, but across the country.
“The future for this kind of supported housing scheme is currently very uncertain. In November George Osborne announced the decision had been taken to cap housing benefit which, if applied to vulnerable people in supported housing like the elderly, homeless, disabled, and victims of domestic violence, could have a devastating effect on their housing. According to the National Housing Federation, this change would hit vulnerable people by an average of £68 a week and at least 156,000 homes would be forced to close. Whilst the government has agreed to carry out a review into how supported housing is funded, we need clarity as quickly as possible that supported housing will be exempt from the housing benefit cap in the future” commented Julia Histon.
“In York Housing Association we have over 400 supported homes which could be affected. We urge Government to clarify that these schemes can be saved. Supported housing projects like this one came about to enable people living with disabilities to enjoy a more independent life, recognising that they can have a far higher quality of life here than they would in institutionalised care. However, with Housing Associations and support providers facing reductions in rental income, we’re pleased that Rachael has taken time to come and see the vulnerable people who will be most affected if these cuts are implemented.”
Rachael Maskell, MP, added: “I valued the meeting with Mencap and York Housing Association at their supported housing project to see first-hand the impact that cuts to housing benefit will have on severely disabled adults.
“I have been opposing the government proposals which will not only result in projects for disabled people no longer being financially viable, but also homelessness projects and accommodation for the elderly.
“Forthcoming changes from the Housing and Planning Bill will also mean that Housing Associations won't be able to develop homes for the most vulnerable in our society; the government must look again at their plans, and I will be following this up back in Westminster.”
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