Scarborough Council's help to those on benefits: more than £100,000 given away in 2018 for emergency housing payments

Scarborough Council provided financial help to those struggling with housing costs
Scarborough Council provided financial help to those struggling with housing costs

Scarborough Borough Council gave more than £100,000 in six months last year to vulnerable people for emergency housing payments.

Department for Work and Pensions figures show that the council spent £111,521, between April and September 2018, on helping people on benefits who are struggling to cover housing costs.

The Government awarded the council £255,345 for the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme for the 2018-19 financial year.

Payments can be awarded to claimants if they have been affected by specific housing policies and could be at risk of homelessness, or if they have emergency costs unrelated to welfare reforms.

Of the money spent so far, the largest proportion 48%, was due to emergency circumstances, such as moving house at short notice.

Financial assistance charity Turn2us said that while the payments are a “vital source of income” for vulnerable people, they are not a long-term solution to the housing crisis.

Campaigns manager, Matthew Geer, said: “Welfare changes over the last decade are leaving councils increasingly burdened, and funds are only limited.

“While we would welcome increasing the funding for DHPs, this will not solve the problem long-term and ultimately help to change the lives of people who are struggling.”

The DWP said the scheme allowed local authorities to “provide additional support to people experiencing financial difficulty with housing costs”.

For 2018-19, the DWP has awarded a total of £153 billion in DHP funding across England and Wales.

Funding for the scheme in 2018-19 is less than it was last financial year, when the council was awarded £277,570.

People can apply for payments at www.scarborough.gov.uk.