A pilot scheme to help tenants threatened with eviction to stay in their homes has been extended after Cornwall Council was successful in a bid for further funding.
Up to £5,000 is available from the Tenancy Sustainment and Rescue Project to help tenants of privately-owned properties who have fallen behind in their rent and, as a result, are at risk of homelessness.
In December 2021, the Council and Citizens Advice Cornwall were awarded over £800,000 from the Covid Outbreak Management Fund and from government money to deal with homelessness. Since then the scheme has helped more than 40 households to remain in their homes with further support in place to help to address the reason for the rent arrears.
With the pilot now at an end, the organisations have received an extension of the scheme meaning they have £434,000 to support households by 31 March 2023. This provides the funds to support work with people who either ask for help or are referred by partner agencies. The scheme is open to landlords who are thinking about serving notice due to rent arrears as well as tenants at risk of homelessness
Citizens Advice Cornwall will work with tenants and landlords on a case-by-case basis looking at the reason for the arrears and provide advice and assistance to support them in sustaining their tenancy. In exchange for addressing the arrears and providing support, landlords will then be expected to allow renters to remain in the properties for up to 12 months after they have been given assistance.
Olly Monk, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for housing and planning, said: “Preventing homelessness is a priority. Keeping people in their homes is clearly very important, especially given the current pressures on housing availability. This scheme will help to ensure that people who have perhaps fallen on hard times and may otherwise have become homeless will be able to stay where they are.”
Gill Pipkin from Citizens Advice Cornwall, said: “Our charity is seeing ever increasing demand from people struggling in the current cost of living crisis. Security of housing is a key element of keeping people safe and reducing pressure - this funding is helping us make a real difference to people in crisis, enabling them to stay in their properties and maintain their social, work and support networks.”
Jon Warner from Cornwall Housing, said: “This extra funding has been a real god-send for some really desperate families who face homelessness through no fault of their own. We have managed to intervene in all sorts of situations from arrears caused by loss of work or sickness to increasing debt and fuel poverty. I would urge any tenants or their landlords that are struggling to keep their tenancy or tenants to contact us or Citizen’s Advice Cornwall asap. We can work together to prevent homelessness in lots of cases.”
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