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Cash on offer to help ease housing costs

Extra help is being offered by Fenland District Council to people eligible for housing benefit who are struggling to meet their housing costs or are facing the real prospect of losing their home due to rent arrears.

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It is encouraging anyone experiencing real difficulties to apply for some short-term financial help through its Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) scheme.   

The council receives extra funding from the Government to enable it to assist people whose housing benefit does not meet their full needs.

The DHP funding can also assist with awards or loans towards the cost of moving, including deposits, advance rent payments and removal expenses.

People who could be eligible include those affected by the so called "bedroom tax" or those aged under 35 whose housing benefit is restricted to the shared room rate.

Others whose household finances have changed as a result of starting or finishing a job or who are absent from work due to ill health may also be able to get some help.

These awards are only intended to provide short-term support. Tenants would be expected to be taking steps to improve their financial situation or find cheaper accommodation.

All applicants receive an initial financial assessment and, where appropriate, they are advised of other benefits to which they may be entitled and encouraged to make changes in the way they manage their money.

A member of staff specialising in housing benefit and DHPs is on hand at Wisbech's Fenland @ your service shop all day every Monday, and fortnightly at March's Fenland @ your service shop on Fridays (10.30am-1pm).  You can make an appointment or just drop in.

The specialist service operates on an appointment-only basis at the Chatteris and Whittlesey Community Hubs. 

For general advice on DHPs call FDC on 01354-654321 or visit the one- stop shops. Application forms can be completed online at www.angliarevenues.gov.uk - follow the links for Benefits.

Article added September 3, 2015