Two Rivers Housing is helping out
Published by Liz Reeson for Two Rivers Housing in Universal Credit and also in Local Government
Two Rivers Housing is giving practical and financial support to tenants affected by the Government’s under-occupation charge by helping them assess their options.
The charge, commonly known as the ‘bedroom tax’, means that households receiving benefits under pension age will see a cut in their benefits. The amount deducted from their benefits depends upon the number of spare rooms in the homes they occupy. Households with one spare bedroom will see a deduction of 14% of the rent for the house they occupy and households with 2 spare bedrooms will see a deduction of 25% for the rent of the property. To date, this change has affected around 350 Two Rivers’ tenants.
One option is for tenants to move to a smaller house, but this is a daunting prospect. That’s why Two Rivers Housing is supporting its tenants throughout the whole process, from helping them find a suitable property, providing moving advice and sharing some of the costs.
Beverley Jones, from Sedbury was supported by Two Rivers Housing when she moved just eight doors down the road from a three bedroom to a two bedroom house. Mrs Jones said: “It was great that my daughter and I could still stay in the community that I have been in for the past 25 years. I have arthritis and Two Rivers have made sure the house was suitable for me by putting up handrails where I needed them.”
Rachel Smith, Head of Housing, says: “We don’t have a limitless supply of one or two bedroom houses and moving won’t be the answer for everyone, but we can share our expertise and help those tenants who do want to move when properties are available.”
The organisation also understands that moving house doesn’t come cheap and is helping with some of the financial costs to ease the effect the move will have on the tenant’s pocket. Rachel continued: “We understand the expense of moving house, which is exacerbated when you’re already on a low or reduced income. Our contribution towards some of the costs should hopefully mean one less thing for our tenants to worry about.”
Eight Two Rivers’ families have been helped with this scheme and made the move to a smaller home since the charge was introduced. The next challenge for Two Rivers is ensuring that there are enough smaller properties available for people who wish to move. The association is currently looking into building more one bedroom homes to alleviate any possible future issues. If a tenant would like to discuss a transfer, they need to speak to their Neighbourhood Housing Advisor.
Two Rivers Housing also has two Welfare Advisors, Rebecca James and Gwyn Yarlett on hand who are available to help tenants manage their money. With the introduction of the under-occupation charge and with the Government’s plans to introduce Universal Credit, their advice could be invaluable for many tenants.
To speak to an advisor, ring Customer Services on 0800 316 0897 and ask to speak to one of the Welfare and Debt Advisors.