News Grant stops 53 households from becoming homeless

Grant stops 53 households from becoming homeless  image

Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) has helped 53 households from becoming homeless due to the Covid-19 pandemic by using a government grant of £175,000.

They were all helped to clear their rent, mortgage, council tax or utility bill arrears using the funding, or to secure alternative accommodation. A mixture of private or social rented tenants and owner occupiers were assisted. All of those helped were directly impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic and would otherwise have become homeless without intervention.

MBC paid off:

  • £145,928.33 of rent arrears
  • £7,292.55 of mortgage arrears
  • £14,110 of utility bill and council tax debt

And also paid:

£7,669.12 to assist people to move into alternative, secure accommodation because they could not remain in their current home.

One recipient told MBC:

"I have had to ask for help from the fund to pay off my rent arrears so that I can keep a roof over mine and my children’s heads.  Our landlord had served a Notice Seeking Possession under mandatory grounds 8 that would have seen us losing our home without this support.

“I had arrears of nearly £8000. I am mortified that they had got this bad and I was shocked at how quickly things got totally out of control.

“The housing association had applied for possession of our home, but luckily the hearing was postponed due to the pandemic. Finally when work didn’t pick up, I was made redundant. We were both now out of work and still hadn't made a benefit claim.  We didn't know what we needed to do or where to start to attempt to resolve the arrears. I was terrified of making contact with the housing association as thought I was going to lose my home.

“I got so low I attempted suicide, things were so tough my partner and I split up for several months due to the stress of the situation we were in. I was so relieved when I heard about the fund and that help might be available to save our home.”

Cllr Simon Webb, Lead Member for Housing and Health at Maidstone Borough Council said:

“The impact of Covid-19 extended into many lives where previously people who had never needed extra help suddenly found themselves in desperate circumstances. Thank fully through this grant we were able to step in and stop people from becoming homeless.

“Our Housing Team worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to help people out of a crisis.  I’m extremely proud of how they have helped so many households in this way.”

The interventions did not stop at payments only, every household was also offered support to ensure their accommodation remained affordable and sustainable for them. MBC staff worked with multiple agencies, including Council Tax, DWP, Golding Homes, MHS Homes, West Kent Housing, Moat Housing, local letting agents, health professionals, Citizens Advice, HomeChoice, Customer Services and local support agencies to deliver the project.

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