§ Earl Russell
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether women's refuges are classified as "hostels" within the meaning of the Housing Benefit (General) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations (S.I. 2401/1999). [HL4520]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham)
Some women's refuges will fall within the definition of "hostels" within the meaning of the Housing Benefit (General) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 1999.
The purpose of the amendment is to make it easier for rough sleepers to gain access to hostel accommodation and to claim Housing Benefit. Many people in this position have drug, alcohol or mental health problems and are not in a position to supply a National Insurance number or sufficient information for one to be traced in support of their benefit claim. The amendment therefore underpins our commitment to reduce rough sleeping.
Women entering refuges should be able to supply such information even if they have left their home without being able to remove any personal possessions. Women entering refuges that do not fall within the definition of "hostels" should not, therefore, be disadvantaged.