Benefits Changes Pose Major Challenge
Published by Anonymous for Two Rivers Housing in Housing and also in Bill Payments, Central Government, Local Government
Local housing association Two Rivers is recruiting for a specialist in benefits and debt advice to support its tenants through what it believes could be tough times ahead.
The Government is introducing a raft of new measures aimed at reducing the benefits burden and encouraging claimants to develop more self dependence.
But these are the biggest changes in the welfare system for decades and housing associations across the UK are worried that some of their most vulnerable residents could have a tough time coping.
Many of the changes come in from next April onwards so there is no time to lose in getting geared up to deal with the fallout for Two Rivers.
Changes will include an under occupation charge, which means anyone on housing benefit who is living in a house with spare bedrooms will see a reduction in their benefit payments. Two Rivers stressed that this will not affect pensioners.
Another major change on the way is how benefits are paid. At the moment housing benefit is paid directly to Two Rivers, but in future Government wants to pay all benefits into a tenant’s bank account – leaving the tenant to sort out their own finances.
Chief Executive Garry King said that the not-for-profit homes organisation would do everything it could to help those who could be affected.
“These changes are radical and the Government is determined to tackle what they see as a major burden on the tax payer. They want people to take control of their lives and liberate themselves from benefit dependency.
“But that leaves us with a major challenge. Some of our tenants are very vulnerable and these changes will be a significant hurdle for them. Reductions in benefits could have significant impacts for those who are already struggling.
“Many don’t have bank accounts or access to the internet. Putting food on the table and keeping warm is their priority, so paying the rent could become an issue,” he said..
Two Rivers provides affordable homes for local people, helping them stay in the communities they love. The Association’s rents are, on average, over a third less than the private sector.
“If some of our most vulnerable tenants stop paying their rents, this will put an even greater burden on the organisation and the rest of our tenants.
“That’s why we are taking on a specialist in debt advice and household finances. This is about helping people manage their money and ensure that we all get through this together. We are working with and for the most vulnerable in our society, helping them cope with the challenges of the future,” Garry said.
Two Rivers is looking for an established and experienced debt advisor. For further details go to www.tworivershousing.org.uk