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800 York Tenants Get Advice Ahead of Cuts in Housing Benefit


11:36am 20th March 2013

City of York Council is visiting some 800 tenants known to be affected by cuts in housing benefit known as "the bedroom tax" as part of a programme of support around benefit changes.

All visits will be completed before the end of March and will be followed up by further visits to discuss tenants’ options in more detail. Matters discussed will include giving tenants a full financial health check, examining the effects of benefit changes and, where applicable, explaining Discretionary Housing Payments and the circumstances where it may be payable to eligible foster carers and households in a disabled adapted property.

Other issues such as employment, switching energy suppliers and financial management training are discussed. Also, where people indicate that they’d like to downsize, they are shown the mechanisms to do so such as registering with homeswapper.co.uk and also, support with the move is offered.

Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing, City of York Council's Cabinet Member for Health, Housing and Adult Social Services said: "A total 1,276 council and housing association tenants are likely to lose a combined, annual total of £927,356 housing benefit. All council tenants at risk of losing housing benefit are being visited with advice about the options available to them,

"Advice on this ‘bedroom tax’ benefits has been shared with all residents since summer 2012, and has been regularly updated with information mailed to all tenants of council and local housing association properties. The city's main housing associations are taking a similar approach.

“We are encouraging people to use informal exchange networks to connect with others wanting to avoid losing housing benefit by moving to a smaller property with those who are overcrowded. A new incentive scheme has been approved to encourage more tenants with spare rooms to move to smaller properties to avoid benefit penalties and free much-needed larger homes."

The council is offering advice alongside the Citizens Advice Bureau and the city’s other registered social landlords. It has also recently added to its regular weekly advice sessions on housing and on housing benefit at Tang Hall, Clifton, Bell Farm, Chapelfields, Foxwood and in the centre of Acomb.

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