The election of a Conservative government in May 2015, with a commitment to cutting welfare benefits for people of working age, has heightened concerns over the process by which people are sanctioned (i.e. have their benefits reduced or stopped completely) because they are judged not to have taken steps consistent with seeking work. The North East Homelessness Think Tank undertook the research discussed in this report because it was particularly concerned about the relationship between benefit sanctions and homelessness.
In addition to outlining the policy position, and highlighting previous research about the impact of sanctions, the report discusses the findings from stakeholder interviews and a survey of organisations working with homeless people in the North East of England. The report highlights the manner in which sanctions can aggravate the difficulties of people who are homeless and makes recommendations for the steps that could be taken by the government, Jobcentre Plus and agencies working with homeless people to improve the situation.
A service users’ perspective is incorporated into an accompanying video which is available to view below.
We are very grateful to the Northern Rock Foundation for funding this research and to everyone who gave up their time to provide their views.