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Funding crisis threatens refuges

Cap on housing benefit imperils 67% of refuges

New statistics published by Women's Aid and Welsh Women's Aid show that 67% of specialist domestic abuse refuges in England will be forced to close if they are not exempted from the Government's plans to cap housing benefit. 87% of refuges in England would not be able to continue with their current level of provision. In Wales, 69% of refuges will be forced to close, and 100% would not be able to continue with their current level of provision.

The Government plans to cap housing benefit in the supported housing sector at Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates, drastically reducing the amount of housing benefit that refuges will receive. Refuges receive only a tiny proportion of the housing benefit spent on the supported housing sector, and housing benefit is a vital source of income for them.

This is because it covers a large proportion of rental costs and service charges. For some refuges, housing benefit covers 90% of these costs. Under the housing benefit cap, the income of one refuge in England would reduce from around £300 to £60 per room per week, placing the refuge in an untenable financial position.

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6/9/16