Housing problems are on the rise in York
12:02am 24th September 2011
City of York Council's Cabinet member for Health, Housing & Adult Social Services has raised concerns about the impact of changes to the national welfare system on York households.
The number of people contacting the council's Housing Options team for help and support has risen dramatically in the last two years, from 640 in 2008/9 to 1900 in 10/11.
There has been over 30% increase in the number of housing advice enquiries this year compared to last (530 queries compared to 404 between January and July each year).
Councillor Tracy Simpson Laing, Cabinet member for Health, Housing & Adult Social Services, City of York Council, said:
"The national changes to the welfare system, particularly those relating to Local Housing Allowance, could have a significant impact on the weekly budget of some of York's most vulnerable households.
"We've seen a significant increase in the number of residents contacting the council because they are facing housing difficulties, whether that's because they can't keep up their mortgage repayments or can't meet their rent and I'm very concerned that this situation could get significantly worse when the impact of the new welfare changes kick in.
"The message is if you need advice on your housing options for any reason get in touch with the team as soon as possible. The earlier you take action the more likely we are to be able to help you avoid a crisis."
Lower income and vulnerable residents in York could be particularly badly hit by the national changes because of the relatively high rental rates in the city.
The council is working with partners across the city to mitigate the impact of the changes, by providing a comprehensive housing options service, which includes:
- The Bond Guarantee scheme, to help people who are having difficulty accessing the private rented sector.
- The YorHomes social lettings agency
- Our Mortgage Prevention Service.
- Targeted and proactive advice to customers who are facing problems as a result of the benefit changes.
PICTURED: Tracey Simpson Laing:
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