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New £600,000 fund to soften the ‘bedroom tax’ blow

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

New £600,000 fund to soften the ‘bedroom tax’ blow

Renfrewshire Council is setting up a new £600,000 cash pot to help council tenants who are suffering financial hardship as a result of the ‘bedroom tax’.

The money will be available via a new Council Tenant Assistance Fund to help council tenants who receive Housing Benefit and are struggling to pay their rent because they’re affected by under occupancy rules.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGCouncillor Tommy Williams, Convener of the Housing and Community Safety Policy Board said: “This major investment is part of our on-going response to help our tenants cope with the UK Government’s ‘bedroom tax’.

“Between April and July, 684 council tenants applied for Discretionary Housing Payment to assist them with their housing costs, with the majority of those affected by the ‘bedroom tax’.

“But while many have come for support, there are still tenants who are clearly struggling to pay their rent because of ‘bedroom tax’ who haven’t come to us for help. We’ve already said that we won’t evict our tenants who fall into arrears as a result of the ‘bedroom tax’, as long as they’re working with us, and we want them to know that this assistance fund is now available to help them cope with the strain of under occupancy.

“We absolutely do not want local families to face hardship because of the ‘bedroom tax’ and we’ll continue to work with our tenants to help them.”

The Council Tenant Assistance Fund will solely help council tenants in financial hardship because of ‘bedroom tax’. The cash is coming from the Housing Revenue Account which by law, can only be spent on council tenants.

To apply to the Council Tenant Assistance Fund, download a form at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/dhp or you can call 0300 300 0204 to ask for a form to be sent out to you.

Anyone who needs help to fill out a form (and for general financial support) should call Advice Works on 0300 300 1238.

The creation of the Council Tenant Assistance Fund was agreed at the Housing and Community Safety Policy Board earlier today.

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Major investment planned to help residents through hardship

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Major investment planned to help residents through hardship

Renfrewshire Council will invest an additional £200,000 into helping local people who are struggling to pay their rent, if the move gets the seal of approval next week.

Council bosses want to top up a fund that’s in place to help residents receiving Housing Benefit who are having difficulty meeting their housing costs – by £215,648.

If the move gets rubber-stamped next week, it will bring the council’s total investment into the Discretionary Housing Payment fund up to £365,648, following a £150,000 contribution in December.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGCouncillor Mike Holmes, Deputy Leader of Renfrewshire Council said: “We know the UK Government’s benefit changes are having an impact on local communities. More people are coming to us for advice, more people are falling into arrears, more are applying for DHPs, and more families are using food banks.

“This latest investment will bring our overall contribution to this key support fund up to more than £365,000 – the maximum we are allowed to contribute to DHP. We want to do all we can to help local residents through these tough times.”

“Our message is clear: if you’re facing financial hardship and are struggling to meet your housing costs, apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment. Help is there and we don’t want local families to struggle. Our Advice Works team can even help you if you need support to fill in the form, so please get in touch.”

Any Renfrewshire resident who is claiming Housing Benefit and having difficulties meeting their housing costs can apply for a DHP.

Application forms are available at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/dhp or you can call 0300 300 0204 to ask for one to be sent out to you. If you need help to fill out a form (and for general financial support) please call Advice Works on 0300 300 1238.

The proposed top up of the DHP fund will go before the Finance and Resources Policy Board for a decision on 28 August.