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Credit unions

 
September 9th 2010
 

Paying rent is stressful for both tenants and landlords; the tenant is under pressure to meet regular payments, while the landlord is worried that their tenant won't pay on time. The previous government's decision to pay housing benefit directly to tenants was criticised for making the situation worse, leading to landlords refusing to accept those on housing benefit.

However, help is being provided by a growing number of credit unions across the UK. In Scotland, for example, Scotwest credit union and homeless charity South Ayrshire Escape from Homelessness (SeAscape) have joined forces to support tenants and help them avoid falling into rent arrears.

SeAscape offers rent deposit guarantees for people living in South Ayrshire. Under the new scheme, everyone who the charity helps into a property automatically joins Glasgow-based credit union Scotwest. Staff at SeAscape create a credit union account for the tenant into which their Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is paid, then Scotwest passes this onto their landlord. The excess - up to £15 - goes to the tenant to support their income.

Scotwest charge a handling fee of £10 every four weeks, per tenant, however this is met by the landlords. Billy, a member of staff at SeAscape, told The Pavement: "The majority of landlords are [happy to pay this] because they're guaranteed that they're getting the money every four weeks."

George Rose, landlord liaison officer at SeAscape, explained the benefits of the scheme. "Our tenants are relieved that Seascape and Scotwest have provided them with a solution to manage their rent payments," he says. "It was particularly difficult for our more vulnerable tenants to deal with their rent before we set up this scheme. Our landlords are also now much more confident that their tenants will not fall into rent arrears in future."

For Rod Ashley, chief executive of Scotwest, the scheme is also helping the credit union to reach out to more people. "By becoming members, the tenants also have the opportunity to use our other services, which will help to encourage them to look carefully at their finances and regularly save small amounts if possible. They will also be able to seek help and advice that perhaps they would not have been able to get access to previously."

Last October, Grant Shapps - then shadow housing minister, now housing minister - said if the Conservatives came into power, tenants would be able to choose to have their housing allowance paid direct to landlords instead of themselves. However, Daniel Barnes from the Department for Work and Pensions press department told The Pavement this has not yet been implemented and there are currently no plans to change the policy.

 
 
 

 

Contents

New arrivals hit the streets

Soup Run Forum

Web only: Emergency Islington shelter remains open during sub-zero temperatures

Chairman of the board

Rest in peace - in memory of lost friends

Prince poses

Starter pack boost

Wearing a jacket to beg?

Teens found guilty of killing Ralph Millward

The Passage withdraws service "as a last resort"

New learning centre for Glasgow

iHobo game causes controversy

Auckland extends ban on rough sleepers

Homeless interrogation

Affordable housing development opens in Edinburgh

Who decides?

Credit unions

New counts are optional

Nobby on stage

I will never forget you, my people

London homeless services in limbo over ?Ǭ£3.28m cuts

Disused night shelter re-opened for winter months

Coventry Cyrenians forced to cut services

London hub success for new rough sleepers

Crisis Skylight in Birmingham - a year on

Residents look ahead to staff upheaval

Midland Heart report

Labour call for hefty council tax levy on empty homes

Stik pic for the American Church

Lottery grant means new opportunities

Mungo?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s launches women?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s campaign

Homeless people forced into slavery

Homeless couple marry in Australia

Number of homeless in Southend underestimated

Basic banking for all

NSNO expands into west London

Scottish homeless applications drop by 19 per cent

Miami cannibal

Invisible People film UK homeless

The demilitarised zone in North America’s drug war

2012 - the year of the right to permanent accommodation in Scotland?

Crisis at Christmas

The Pavement is recruiting

Rough sleeper donates $250 to charity

Food voucher scheme scrapped

Commemorating friends and companions

Human rights for all

First person: Gemskii on regaining control of her life

The shades come off

Upfront: spikes

Comment: Spikes are the least of your worries

Opinion: All up in smoke?

Heartbreak Hotel, episode 4.

The Pied Piper of Housing

March for the Homeless

Being homeless doesn't mean you can't vote on May 7

The vulnerability ruling

The Queen’s speech

Criminalising homelessness

116-bed hostel for young homeless to close in Southwark

Sponsor a bed and rebuild a life

Hipsters neutralise anti-homeless spikes

What the Brexit will happen now?

Anti-homelessness protesters threatened with eviction, jail by Manchester city council

Showing our impact

Rebirth

The birth of the North Gower Action Group

A pianist, an artist, a dog called George and a new homeless app

Living water

Midwinter blues?

Councils back change in law to tackle rising homelessness

Having problems with your JSA?

Mayoral hustings on homelessness

Skippering

A major step in reducing homelessness?

Liverpool Police homeless curb beggars belief

Charity begins at home?

Legal aid charade

Surviving the streets – by those who've done it

Stop the scandal

Glasgow homeless services at risk

 

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