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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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New Barrow project could build stronger communities

A PIONEERING project to beat the new ‘bedroom tax’ is being introduced to Barrow this spring.

From April, housing benefit reforms will see some claimants lose a percentage of their benefits if their house is deemed to be under-occupied.

This will leave people who have a spare room facing being hit in the pocket or even being forced to consider whether to move property.

However, a new project that is being extended throughout Cumbria after a successful pilot scheme, could offer an alternative.

Homeshare is a scheme which has been operated by Age UK since 2010 in Carlisle and Eden.

The organisation pairs those who are looking for accommodation with residents who have a spare room. The project has paired many older people with younger tenants. Jo Radcliffe, Homeshare co-ordinator, said the scheme can benefit many people in Cumbria.

She said: “We think we can help people who have homes and people who are looking for somewhere to live.

“Hopefully, Homeshare can keep people in their communities whether they own a home or not.’’

The organisation carries out stringent checks and assessments, including CRB checks, on people taking part and tries to pair people who will be suited together.

So far, more than 100 applications have been registered in Cumbria but only six matches have been made. The organisation expects demand to increase once the housing benefit reforms kick-in.

An example of the scheme is 80-year-old Barbara, who has taken 28-year-old University of Cumbria student Lindsey into her home. Barbara was initially reluctant to take part in the scheme and suffered from acute agoraphobia.

However, the scheme proved to be a success, with both women becoming friends. They even stay in touch now through Facebook and Skype, which Lindsey taught Barbara to use.

lFor more information on the Homeshare scheme, contact Jo Radcliffe on 01768 86318.

Have your say

Not really a good example of the scheme as Barbara is not of working age and wouldn't be affected by the bedroom tax!!!!!

Posted by Joanne on 19 February 2013 at 13:06

the bedroom tax is wrong for so many reasons i could not start to list why,
way back in history there used to be a window tax so the whole country bricked up windows,a few years later the numbers of children suffering with rickets became epademic,
it seems to me a far better way would be to ask people to swap housing and give a grant for moving to help with the cost.
untill planers start to aprove more single bed housing there won't be an end to housing shortages.

Posted by colin on 19 February 2013 at 12:14

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