YOUNG Barnsley tenants are facing homelessness amid soaring rental prices unless the government raises housing benefit rates, says charity Centrepoint.
New Centrepoint figures have revealed that tenants on housing benefits in Barnsley are being forced to find almost £100 extra every month to meet rising private rents.
Local Housing Allowance is a housing benefit payment made to those eligible for Universal Credit and is meant to cover the cheapest 30 per cent of rooms in a shared house on the private rental market.
Figures from the youth homelessness charity show just one in 13 local authorities in England provide sufficient housing benefit for people living in the area.
The charity said without the government raising housing benefit rates, people face homelessness amid soaring rental prices.
The figures show people renting from private landlords who are eligible for housing benefits in Barnsley will receive £264 per month from the local housing allowance this year.
The median rent for a room in a shared house in Barnsley is £390, while the cheapest 25 per cent of rents cost up to £347.
Housing allowance would cover just 76 per cent of that price, leaving people needing to find an extra £83 per month to put a roof over their heads.
It’s less than the average household across the country though, with the shortfall around £90 a month – with many areas well above £100.
Centrepoint said people on low incomes renting homes are competing with one another, paying soaring costs and offering lump sums to secure properties.
Alicia Walker, head of policy, research and campaigns at Centrepoint, said: “This is particularly worrying for those vulnerable young people who rely on Universal Credit to keep a roof over their heads.
“The fact is that if you’re on a low or fixed income then no amount of clever budgeting is going to help you find an additional £100 or more to cover the rent.
“The government has asked low-income renters to defy the gravity of this crisis and somehow find the money to cover the spiralling costs.
“That simply isn’t possible for most young households and, without the government increasing rates immediately, many of them could face losing their home.”
The latest Office for National Statistics figures show prices for all rental properties in Yorkshire and The Humber have increased by 4.5 per cent in the year to January, while average rents across England have risen by 4.3 per cent.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “During the pandemic, we increased Local Housing Allowance significantly and beyond inflation, benefiting over one million households by an average of over £600 over the year.
“We’re maintaining that boost, keeping support for private renters above pre-pandemic levels.
“The benefit cap provides a strong work incentive and ensures fairness for hard-working taxpaying households by encouraging people to move into work where possible. It balances fairness for taxpayers with providing a vital safety net.”