The purpose of the bedroom tax is said to free up homes which are under occupied by social housing tenants. It is understandable that the government will wish to free up homes to allow families the opportunity to have enough bedrooms for their needs.
There are many factors which are cause for concern for local residents, some of which have lived in their homes for many moons.
We asked Derwentside Homes, the local provider of Social Housing about these reforms. There are 1400 tenants who will be affected by the new bedroom tax with over 200 facing a reduction in housing benefit as they currently have spare bedrooms. It seems the Government has not thought this out properly as many social housing organisations including Derwentside Homes have limited stock of suitably sized accommodation.
Across the district there are 51 single person flats but 886 tenants who would be allowed a 1 bedroom property under the new regulations. Over 60’s will not feel the brunt of these changes but it seems the one bedroom bungalows and apartments are geared towards this age group. Suitable sized accommodations which have been adapted to meet the needs of the disabled people may not be available.
It seems councils and social housing are concerned about these new measures as the workload from enquiries and advice will no doubt increase whilst the local council budgets are being drastically reduced. Two welfare rights officers have been employed by Derwentside Homes to ensure people who are incapable of work are receiving everything they are entitled to, a money advice worker to help people with debt as well as welfare reform assistants to provide hands on service for people looking to move.
If you or anyone you know are going to be affected by the welfare reforms we’d like to hear your views. Why not contact us on 01207 438 292 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org