Shared housing is becoming more common for young people, as a result of housing pressures and benefit cuts. Separated parents whose children live with them part-time (‘non-resident parents’) are a group whose needs may be particularly badly met by shared housing, and therefore may suffer a social injustice. Housing benefit entitlements can pose difficulties for single, non-resident parents (whose children stay for anything up to 50 per cent of the time), as they only cover shared housing.
At present, people out of work or in low waged jobs can claim housing benefit for up to 100 per cent of their rent. Most single people under 35 in the private rented sector are restricted to the shared accommodation rate (SAR); their housing benefit is set at a level to cover the rent on a room in a shared house. Before 2012, the SAR only applied to those aged 25 or younger. By increasing the SAR to age 35, the government increased the likelihood that non-resident parents would be included. Forthcoming welfare changes will mean that the SAR is extended to those in social housing from 2018.
Very little, however, is known about the suitability of shared housing for non-resident parents. The research aims to examine evidence of the need for shared housing solutions for non-resident parents, identify possible housing solutions and identify the key challenges in developing such housing, and suggest ways in which they might be tackled.
The study involves interviews with housing providers, and with non-resident parents themselves. If you are a non-resident parent, and would like to take part in an interview, please contact Anna Clarke on firstname.lastname@example.org.