NEHTT have been funded by the Northern Rock Foundation to conduct research to:
Develop a robust understanding of the administration and impact of benefit sanctions in relation to vulnerable people in the North East, and develop an alternative vision for the benefits system which both supports people into work and prevents homelessness.
The research project commenced in January this year and was launched July 16th 2015.
Why we conducted the research
Prior to conducting the research, NEHTT members, collectively and individually, had been engaged in several programmes of work looking at the impacts of welfare reform. One of the single biggest issues arising from this is benefit sanctions. The number of sanctions being applied has increased significantly under the new welfare regime, with a disproportionate affect on vulnerable groups, such as homeless people, young people and offenders. For many, sanctions are increasing the risk of homelessness, and resulting in people being trapped in homelessness for longer periods of time. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that they are impacting on physical and emotional wellbeing through food and fuel poverty and increased household stress, as well as levels of crime and illegal money lending. These findings sit alongside a number of other studies which have discussed the administration, claimants’ understanding and the impacts, of benefit sanctions. However, a robust picture of the scale and impacts of this in the North East (and nationally) had yet to be established.
The Full research report can be viewed here: Benefit Sanctions and Homelessness
The NEHTT research has highlighted the increasing difficulty and disengagement for homeless people as a result of benefit sanctions, and the consequent problems for the organisations working with them. This video highlights the recommendations from the research.