Witney News - Fund to help prevent homelessness

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Fund to help prevent homelessness

A fund has been set up by West Oxfordshire District Council to provide loans to families at risk of homelessness through repossession or eviction.

The Council has set up the Homelessness Prevention Fund after receiving a £38,000 Homelessness Grant from the Government.

As well as helping homeowners who are struggling with mortgage costs, the funding will be used to assist tenants in social or private-rented housing who, through no fault of their own, are struggling with rental payments and face eviction.

There are various terms to the scheme and decisions as to whether somebody qualifies for a loan will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Loans are expected to be in the range of £1,000 to £3,000 per household, with a maximum loan amount of £5,000. The loans will need to be paid back, but interest will not be charged and all repayments will go back into the Fund so that money is available to make further loans.

Cllr Jill Dunsmore, the District Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We welcome this scheme during these difficult economic times and hope that this will provide assistance to help people to stay in their homes. This Fund is the latest homelessness prevention measure to be introduced to support people who have been affected by the recession.”

Further information about the help that may be available can be found via the Housing Services pages on the Council’s website, www.westoxon.gov.uk/housing.

In addition to the work of its Housing Services team, the Council has been liaising with agencies such as West Oxfordshire Citizens Advice Bureau to provide support to residents. This has included funding to support the work of the CAB, which provides free, independent advice on a range of issues, including housing, legal, money and debt advice.

The Council recently agreed to give a further £5,000, in addition to funding already provided, to help the CAB with initiatives to prevent people from becoming homeless because of financial difficulty. The CAB will play a key role in helping to administer the Council’s Homelessness Prevention Fund, as well as providing other support services to people in need.

Anyone wishing to find out more about criteria and eligibility for the Fund can visit the Council’s website, www.westoxon.gov.uk/mortgagehelp or call 01993 861010.

Posted : 02/10/2009 16:12:48

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