Homelessness fears as Brent Council unleashes cuts

Charities warn of increased homelessness as government cuts and harsher assessments leave claimants without support

COMMUNITY leaders warned of a rise in homelessness if the effects of government cuts are not mitigated.

During a debate, at the new �9.2 million St Mungo’s hostel, in Pound Lane, Willesden, the panel heard how easy it is to become homeless.

Freddie Still, an advocate and former client at St Mungo’s, was made homeless after he was kicked off Job Seekers Allowance for being late for an appointment subsequently losing his housing benefit.

Martin Cheeseman, Brent Council’s director of housing and community care, warned: “There will be a direct impact on (homeless charities) St Mungo and Cricklewood Homeless Concern (CHC) and with people under 35 not being allowed to claim housing benefit for a single room it will be very hard.”

It is expected people will be forced to move out of London to cheaper rented accommodation as the new government caps come-in.

However there are fears that for substance abusers and people with mental health issues homelessness could happen.

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Danny Maher, CEO at CHC, said: “We are just too aware of the doom and gloom ahead of us, but we just look to the elected representatives to try and make sure it doesn’t get too bad.”

While Cllr Bobby Thomas, Labour’s lead member for housing and customer services, said Brent’s low homeless figures and facilities were reasons to be cheerful.

CllrAnn John, Brent Council leader, sent a clear message as she battles a �100m budget cut.

She said: “We won’t be a bargain bucket council, we won’t be giving out green stamps and we won’t be joining a super council.”