One of the region’s largest providers of affordable housing is trialling a new scheme that could give a welcome boost to some of those hit hardest by welfare changes.
believe housing has introduced a fund that could help new tenants who are affected by the so called ‘bedroom tax’ (or ‘spare room subsidy’).
The group’s ‘Local Discretionary Housing Fund’ will cover the cost of the subsidy for up to three years for eligible customers on certain properties, if they agree to take part in extra employability support and training alongside their standard tenancy agreement.
The scheme will to apply to up to 100 two and three-bed homes in the Durham city area initially; with the group making up the shortfall if an eligible customer signs a tenancy for a property that is larger than their specified needs. If successful, the pilot scheme could be expanded further.
believe housing Head of Neighbourhoods, Ian Porter, said: “This scheme could make a real difference to people who are currently struggling to find an affordable home that meets their needs due to welfare changes.
“We know that there are many properties in and around Durham that were once very popular, but are currently just out of reach for lots of potential tenants due to the ‘bedroom tax’. We hope this trial will be able to make a difference to many people.”
The first properties to benefit from the pilot include homes in parts of Brandon and Durham city centre with two and three bedrooms. New tenants will need to demonstrate that they are actively seeking employment or receiving training and support. The Local Housing Discretionary Fund will provide assistance to cover ‘bedroom tax’ in Housing Benefit payments until the tenant finds work.
If the trial proves successful, it could be introduced in some areas where Universal Credit has already been introduced.
To apply for a home where the pilot scheme is in operation visit our immediately available properties page.