Housing campaigners are calling for an urgent review of rent costs for council tenants.
The request, by members of Brighton Housing Coalition, is due to be made at a meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Housing Committee on Wednesday (17 November).
Jim Deans, from Sussex Homeless Support, is due to lead a deputation at Hove Town Hall, with support from five others.
A statement sent to councillors before the meeting said: “With property rental costs soaring and rapidly growing, councils are forced to spend millions with private landlords to accommodate the growing population, millions of people trapped in emergency and temporary accommodation.
“This is set to hit two million people by 2030 if we do not act.
“Malnutrition, drink and drug abuse, domestic abuse and violence, child poverty and plain old trapped in debt – these are all part of the same crisis.
“(The) council setting its own rents at ‘local housing allowance’ or near traps people in debt. It makes the transition from unemployment to work very difficult. People with disabilities have no option but to live their lives on benefits trapped by the high rents.
“The Kerslake Commission report spells out the implications of privatisation. We are having to buy back previously sold council homes which were sold at a great loss. I have an example of a flat sold under the right to buy for £15,000 and recently bought back for £250,000.
“Under the right to buy, we still lose a social rent home, and the people living there could be students exploited, we have a lot of families living in overcrowded positions, essentially hidden homeless, living from one room, because the standards in private sector housing are worse than the overcrowding.
“Include those stuck in high rents and benefit capped – genuine working families are left with £70 to live off each month or a single working woman only £10 better off while working a 40-hour week due to high rents.
“A ‘third child’ rule drives families and single parents further into debt. We are exploiting the most vulnerable when the system needs to be fairer to keep children above the poverty line.
“There needs to be fairness in council rents. Some people have rents set at social level yet are high earners.
“Some council homes have multiple people in the home working yet still paying one social rent.
“Meanwhile, some people are on minimum wage but paying a ‘local housing allowance’ level of rent, leaving them trapped in debt or having to use discretionary funds or universal credit to live. They are trapped.”
The request for a review of rents is due to go before the council’s Housing Committee at Hove Town Hall on Wednesday (17 November). The meeting is scheduled to start at 4pm and to be webcast on the council’s website.
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