Housing Advice from the local authority.
James Ware (my own work this time, apologies if it isn’t as coherent as anything in the Gazette, lol).
In what was termed the global economic downturn during the 2005-10 recession the resultant job losses could see more people moving from mortgaged to rented accommodation. Additionally disabled people and the elderly may seek to adapt private sector housing to meet changing circumstances and care requirements (such as installing walk in showers or disabled ramps). Finally there are young people moving out or seeking housing accommodation for the first time having got their exam results and first job either further in in London or moving here to work in the military or for one of the multinationals such as Xerox or Coca Cola. All of which requires housing accommodation advice and support from the civic centre and charities it funds. This article lays out how to access it and to maximise the help you can get beyond just mere housing and council tax benefit advice.
1) If you face losing your home owing to employment difficulties/ reduced income.
After x months the government will pay mortgage interest if your house hasn’t been repossessed by then. As such the better option is to talk to your creditors in the first instance and explain the dilemma faced. In the current climate repossession will prevent them from getting the value of the house back at auctions that only the aristocracies agent’s and seriously wealthy pirate the hard work of those who’ve saved and worked on the no more boom and bust premise. Hence they may be more amenable provided you talk to them and talk early. The citizen’s advice bureau have advice sessions on a Wednesday 9.30-12.30 (arrive early as there may be a queue) and have a money advice service that can help prepare a financial statement. That said a qualified accountant or solicitor or insolvency practicioner would get a better result and settlement, or be able to advise a personal bankruptcy such as a debt relief order to get rid of the credit card debts and enable you to pay utility costs
2) How to go for shared ownership, local authority adaptations
With elderly relatives moving in to reduce overheads and bring in social security income (as well as to help with childcare and education of your children so as to help keep you looking for work and active), the option of the council buying a share of your house and using some of the income to adapt the house with stairlifts, disabled ramps, walk in showers or the like is there. This also applies to those with learning or mental health disabilities if properly advised. You need a letter from a specialist and a plan drawn up by a social worker and the relevant social services department. The decision to proceed is taken by the Shared Ownership Officer, Housing Assessment Team (2N/O2), Civic Centre, Uxbridge, Middlesex, Tel 01895 250147
If this isn’t an option then getting your elderly relatives into sheltered accommodation under the Homeswap scheme (and in the case of Hayes and Inner London boroughs out of Tower Blocks that may be becoming life expired and dangerous in terms of structure or crime) is an option. Their address is:
Shared Ownership Officer,
Housing Development Team (2W/02)
01895 250 147
3) Starting out in accommodation for the first time.
Some Housing and living arrangements can’t fit three generations in the same house and also cultural and relationship considerations (the school prom couple in love wanting to start a life together rather than the parents arranged marriage or ‘Metroland expectations’ that such things are for after university). The Housing Needs reception at the Civic Centre will provide an initial assessment as to what options are available and what benefits there are. The ‘This Life’ scenario of two couples opting for sharing a three bed house and getting the third bedroom as a study for further FE / HE study near a university or place of work is a successful one and one that has been used in Inner London Boroughs with town houses (Out of Town Lawyers coming to settle). Its also how those with higher wages funded the Labour Party more as part of their socialist principles while at the same time building up their own wealth (while not telling their activists the same loopholes or asking them to keep hush about it).
That said the social security system lays out that those under 25 are entitled to less housing benefit and are allocated hostel rooms or a room in a shared house as local authority housing is in short supply owing to green belt restrictions. To get any of that you probably need a medical reason for it as diagnosed by a specialist to get a higher band rating under the locata system.
One of the young peoples advice charities set up to help people get the right advice is the Navigator project. It has two offices
140 High Street,
Tel 01895 462074 / 075
10a High Street, Hayes, Middlesex
Tel 0208 581 1054 / 1055
Once you have a council property you can either opt for shared ownership or the right to buy scheme. The address is Yiewsley Housing Office, 163 High Street, Yiewsley, Middlesex, UB7 7QN firstname.lastname@example.org
To get on the housing register you need a letter from your parents after your 16th or 18th birthdays asking you to leave without it they won’t take you so seriously. Also you will only get Housing benefit if you have less than £8,000 p.a. savings so the system is counterproductive and always designed to erode those who use it if they are not in employment. This has to change if we are all going to have to save more for our old age and pensions. Additionally this requires honest discussions between parents and children about how to allocate financial resources to achieve the best result from the state.