Landlord to pay tenants' bedroom tax while they train
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
South Liverpool Homes (SLH) has started a scheme to try to help its tenants hit by the government's bedroom tax - paying for their housing benefit losses while they train for work.
Working with a local training provider, the 3,600-home landlord is offering residents affected by the controversial under-occupancy policy an opportunity to take part in an intensive employability training programme to help them into work.
According to SLH, although the scheme is not an unusual concept, the fact that it is recognising tenants’ commitment by covering their shortfall in housing benefit caused by the bedroom tax for the period of the programme, is radical.
The first of a series of programmes, run in partnership with A4e (Action for Employment), started in July with a group of tenants already benefitting.
The courses run over eight weeks and tenants who take part will see their shortfall in housing benefit caused by the new reform capped for the duration of the course, saving some tenants up to £100 a month in rent shortfall as a consequence of the bedroom tax.
Whilst on the course, SLH will work closely with their partners and contractors to help individuals find work placements and hopefully employment.
Wayne Gales, director of operations at SLH, said: “We are really excited to be able to offer this fantastic opportunity for tenants.
"Like many other housing providers, we have continued to lobby against the bedroom tax and are doing everything we can to support those who are affected, however the stark reality is that many just can’t afford to pay the shortfall in their housing benefit and there simply aren’t enough smaller homes for them to move into.”
Laura, 22, was one of the first people to sign up is excited about her prospects. She said: “I currently live in a three-bedroom home in Speke with my two young children and am considered to be under-occupying my home by one bedroom.
"I’d love to be an accounts assistant so I’m half way through an accountancy course to make this a reality, but I need to be on a work placement to complete my last year.
“I’ve learnt so many new skills on the course such as communication and assertiveness skills, as well as getting help with writing CV’s and doing job interviews. I’m hoping that everything I’ve learnt, along with my re-vamped CV will help me get the placement I desperately need and enable me to get back into employment and beat the bedroom tax.”