Charities welcome Universal Credit announcement for care leavers and other vulnerable groups
The Chancellor’s decision today to increase the amount of Universal Credit and Housing Benefit that groups of young people at risk of homelessness can claim has been welcomed by Centrepoint, the Children’s Society and Depaul UK.

In his Budget, Rishi Sunak announced additional exemptions from the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR), which will enable rough sleepers aged 16-to-24, care leavers up to the age of 25, and victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking to live on their own.

Young people charities Centrepoint, the Children’s Society and Depaul UK welcomed the announcement, which means that fewer young people will be at risk of rough sleeping and other forms of homelessness.

Previously, care leavers aged 22 or over could only claim a lower rate of support for housing costs through the benefits system, the SAR. Care leavers aged 18 to 21, however, were able to claim the higher one-bed rate.

Jointly responding to this Budget announcement, charity CEOs Seyi Obakin OBE, Mark Russell and Mike Thiedke, respectively of Centrepoint, the Children’s Society and Depaul UK, said: “It’s great news that the government has listened to the experts on this and removed the financial cliff edge that care leavers face on their 22nd birthday. We also welcome new exemptions for young people sleeping rough, victims of domestic abuse and trafficking.

“Until today some of the country’s most vulnerable young people have had to navigate a haphazard system weighted against them solely because of their age. Today’s announcement will mean that more young people are now able to make a successful move into a home of their own.

“There are still, however a lot of problems with Universal Credit that make life even harder for tens of thousands of vulnerable young people, not least the five-week wait for first payments. These leave young people hungry and in debt. We also need much greater investment in truly affordable housing.”

*These new exemptions come on top of the £643million for accommodation and support services to support rough sleepers, announced today by the Chancellor.

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