Fenland Council gets extra cash that could help those with housing benefit who are struggling to make ends meet

The National Housing Federation’s Homeless Bound? report.

The National Housing Federation’s Homeless Bound? report. - Credit: Archant

PEOPLE in receipt of Housing Benefit who are struggling to meet their housing costs are being encouraged to apply for extra help that is available from Fenland District Council.

Cat-wis-news-22-sheltered-1sm0

- Credit: Archant

A council spokesman said: “We are keen to ensure that those in most need do not miss out”.

Housing land identified

Housing land identified - Credit: Archant

The council is holding a series of surgeries in its one-stop shops across the district next week (July 8-12) to raise awareness of its Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) scheme. Some households will also be directly targeted with information about the scheme.

Local authorities have been given additional funding from the Government to enable them to provide some short-term help to those for whom housing benefit does not meet their full needs.

The demand for such assistance compared to previous years is expected to increase significantly because of the major welfare reforms now being implemented. These include cuts to housing benefit if a claimant’s home is deemed too big for their needs - popularly known as the “bedroom tax” - and the overall benefits cap.


You may also want to watch:


Fenland District Council has been allocated £146,000 for distribution as discretionary housing payments in 2013/14 – up from about £50,000 in previous years.

Payments can be made for various purposes, including help with rent deposits or moving costs or to tide people over while they prioritise their outgoings and consider what changes they can make to manage their rent themselves in the longer term.

Most Read

The awards are discretionary. Every applicant will receive an initial financial assessment; where appropriate they will be advised of other benefits they may be entitled to and encouraged to make any budgetary changes that would ease their situation.

Housing associations, including Roddons, are doing their best to help households move to smaller properties where necessary. However, there are limited numbers of smaller properties available. Also, some people, such as the disabled, find it difficult to move because their home may have been specially adapted for their needs.

The council can only make short-term awards because of the fixed budget but customers will be able to re-apply if their circumstances haven’t improved.

Councillor John Clark, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for benefits, said: “We want to make the best use of this additional money and ensure that it goes to the most vulnerable people and those in most need.

“Anyone who feels they may be entitled to extra help should contact us or come along to one of our surgeries so that we can discuss their particular situation.”

For more information or to make an application, visit one of the surgeries (see below), visit www.fenland.gov.uk/dhp, email benefits@fenland.gov.uk or call FDC’s benefits team on 01354 654321

SURGERY DATES

Here are the details for the advice surgeries at the Fenland@ your service shops:

Monday, July 8: March

Tuesday, July 9: Whittlesey

Wednesday, July 10: Wisbech

Thursday, July 11: Chatteris

Friday, July 12: Wisbech

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter