Written evidence submitted by Durham County Council




Housing Benefit evidence in relation to Supported Housing & Temporary Accommodation






Durham County Council continues to see an increase in demand for Supported Housing & Temporary Accommodation.


As general Housing Benefit claims (and the subsidy linked with this) reduces due to Universal Credit migration the percentage of subsidy loss continues to increase year on year (1.7% of expenditure in 2019/20 to 2.8% of expenditure in 2022/23).


This is due to more non-registered providers moving into the area and the Housing Benefit costs associated with them continuing to increase. For example the rental element was capped to 11.1% increase for 2023, however the service charges are only capped to what is reasonable so many had communal energy charges increasing by 400% given the increasing price of gas/electric. This is also due to the increase in demand for temporary accommodation, much of which has had to be met by using more expensive holiday let type properties due to the amount of demand out weighing the amount of suitable accommodation provided by registered providers in the area.


The chart below shows the amount received back in subsidy from the DWP and the shortfall between the two:




The overall value of HB paid out continues to fall as more working age residents migrate to Universal Credit (UC), however, the value of the shortfall covered by DCC is not reducing, and in fact, increased significantly in 2021/22 and again in 2022/23




Financial Year

Total HB paid out

Subsidy Claimed

Shortfall Cost to DCC



























Currently in County Durham there are 20 providers of non-commissioned supported housing.  These providers manage 522 properties providing transitional/short term supported accommodation for around 650 people.  The number of supported bedspaces provided by non-commissioned providers has increased by around 40% in the last two and a half years.  Temporary Accommodation new claims increased by 82% from 209 in 2021/22 to 381 in 2022/23.

14 of these non-registered providers are targeted at supporting homeless, or formerly homeless, individuals. These have an annual Housing Benefit cost of £5.484million, of which Durham loses at least 40% in subsidy shortfall.

June 2023