Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Crowd Mapping the affects of Housing Benefit Reform

I doubt there is anyone reading this who isn't aware that the reforms to Housing Benefit will have a huge impact on the lives of claimants. With more being deducted for non dependants living with claimants and a limit on size of property that can be claimed for amongst others big changes are underway.

Citizens Advice is working hard to protect people's rights and support those who are in difficulty. Benefit reforms are something they are watching closely, both the national organisation and the individual bureaux on a local level. A big part of their social policy work is gathering evidence as to impacts. It's really useful for raising awareness.

Hackney CAB have been using crowd mapping to record the impact housing benefit cuts are having in their area.

The map shows the area (ward not exact address due to confidentiality) where a problem has been reported. These are colour coded by type such as shortfall, overcrowding or arrears. You can the click on an entry for more details.

Looking at the map highlight the scope of the problems in Hackney. I knew there was a huge issue but seeing it like that is quite eye opening. There will however be many others in that area struggling who haven't sort advice. And thousands of others all over the country in exactly the same position.

On that website there is also a page with some stats about predicted the impact of the housing benefit cuts. It includes a stat the coalition are probably hoping no one realises.

93% of new housing benefit claims since the election are from people who work and have a low income. Working isn't going to help those people deal with the cuts.

Disabled people aren't mentioned in any of those stats. But the impact on us is likely to be bigger than on any other groups. Not are we facing ESA migration and cuts, the implementation of PIP and drastic changes to many other services a lot of us will also be hit by benefit changes which also affect non disabled people.

Hackney CAB crowd map can be viewed here

I'd really recommend contacting CAB if you need help or advice with benefits or any other issue. Advice Guide is the best place to start and as well as factsheets has a find your nearest bureau function.

1 comment:

  1. In my area, stoke-on-trent, a very poorly friend of mine who has had her dla removed, booked an appointment with CAB for advice only to be told that the person who deals with welfare cases is on maternity leave and the local authority have refused to fund a replacement.

    They told her to contact 'Disability Solutions', but they told her they were inundated with people needing help so they couldn't take her case on.

    The cons have got it all 'stitched up'; turn down every claim and refuse to fund any kind of advice or legal aid.

    People aren't going to move; they just cant afford to start all over somewhere else, so they'll just become further impoverished, just like the poor did during Thatcher's time in office.