Hundreds of Portsmouth families facing homeless crisis after benefits cap

Carole Damper Picture: Habibur Rahman (161566-331)
Carole Damper Picture: Habibur Rahman (161566-331)
Picture: HMRC

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HOMELESSNESS is likely to rise in Portsmouth as a result of a new benefits caps, a charity leader has warned.

Carole Damper, chief executive of the Roberts Centre in Landport has said hundreds of families are facing becoming homeless next year.

Her warning comes after the debt team at Portsmouth’s Citizens Advice Bureau said it is already seeing a surge in the number of people struggling to make ends meet since the cap was introduced last month.

The government-led changes have scrapped the top-end rate of £26,000 (£500 a week) in benefits, reducing it to £20,000 – or £384.62 a week, affecting 80 families in the city.

Those who received below £26,000 but more than £20,000 have also had the same cap to their benefits, with Portsmouth City Council warning between 400 and 450 families in the city will suffer as a result.

Ms Damper said: ‘There are more people now facing being made homeless than ever before.’

She called on people to be compassionate and support the area’s most needy while backing The News’ Show Them You Care This Christmas campaign.

She said benefits cuts weren’t helping, adding: ‘We have all got about 75 summers and autumns when we start our lives.

‘It’s not an easy journey for many of us.

‘Some of us are more lucky than others but we don’t all start the game of Monopoly at go with £200.

‘Some people are born into debt or have a disability that they start with.’

Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, said homelessness was a rising, complex issue.

However, she said the introduction of universal credit would assist most of the people affected by the new caps.

But she admitted more needed to be done to tackle the number of people facing homelessness both nationally and locally.

‘Ultimately we need to work to drive down the costs of living for low-income families,’ she added.