A recent study by Crisis and Zoopla established that just 11% of one-bedroom properties in England are now affordable to renters on Local Housing Allowance – that’s down from 17% in April.
They also established that the proportion of affordable two-bedroom properties has fallen to just 7% from 11%.
For three-beds, just 6% of rental properties are affordable – down from 10% earlier this year.
The figures, the charity says, represent an increasingly desperate situation in which people receiving housing benefit are being priced out of the rental market and are at real risk of homelessness.
Housing benefit has been frozen since early 2020 and is based on rents from 2018-19.
With rents rising at their fastest rate in 16 years and inflation soaring, Crisis is urging the Government to act urgently and commit to increasing housing benefit in line with inflation in the upcoming Autumn Budget on November 17.
Matt Downie, Crisis’ chief executive, said: “Current housing benefit levels are woefully behind rents, leaving people on the lowest incomes with drastically fewer options of finding a home.
“Homelessness is becoming a very worrying, and real prospect for families up and down the country.
“What’s more, housing benefit isn’t included in the Government’s commitment to uprate benefits – which we’re still yet to see if they will deliver on.”
He added: “Despite being most people’s biggest expense, these colossal rents are being ignored.
“The fact that affordability has deteriorated so drastically in just five months shows the pressing need for benefits to increase in line with real world costs – and just how punishing it is to freeze Local Housing Allowance rates for even a short period of time.”