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Housing provider's adviser army to prepare 1000s of tenants for welfare reform

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Housing provider's adviser army to prepare 1000s of tenants for welfare reform

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Universal Credit

Plus Dane Group Plus Dane Group

A housing provider is sending out an army of advisers to inform its tenants about the Government's imminent welfare reforms.

Plus Dane Housing Group claims that many thousands of its residents across Merseyside and Cheshire will experience a drop in living standards and the risk of homelessness will increase when the planned benefit changes start in April 2013.

More than 600 Plus Dane employees will begin knocking on the doors of almost 3,000 tenants this week to give advice and support on the coming cuts to benefits and changes in the way they are claimed and paid.

From April, people receiving housing benefit will see a cut set at 14% of rent for one extra bedroom and 25% of rent for two or more extra bedrooms. The new rules also stipulate that two children of the same gender should share a room up until one of them is 16-years-old and that two children of different genders should share until one is 10.

Plus Dane’s chief executive, Ken Perry, launched the 'Big Benefit Shake Up' campaign this week. He said: “Many people just do not realise just how deep these cuts are.

“We feel we cannot wait for these changes to come in before we take action, so every member of staff is being trained to go out into the streets to explain what’s coming and make sure people prepare budgets, claim their full entitlements and continue paying their rent.”

Mr Perry pledged that Plus Dane would do all it could to help any tenants who may struggle to pay rent under the new Universal Credit system.

He added: “Many will struggle with this. All housing associations face the horrible prospect of having to evict people and families, so Plus Dane is putting into place huge resources to help people who want to pay but can’t, including specialist financial inclusion teams and partnerships with other expert organisations.

“It is vital people continue to pay their rent when the changes begin to come in, we will do all we can to help.”

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