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Housing Money Mentor Project

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This project will only be funded if at least £30,000 is pledged by 7th October 2020 at 11:59pm

To ensure local families at risk of eviction and homelessness due to rent arrears, remain in their homes and learn to budget efficiently.

by Citizens Advice Peterborough in Peterborough, England, United Kingdom

Citizens Advice Peterborough provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to people within our local community on their rights and responsibilities. We value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination.

Our Service aims to provide the advice people need for the problems they face and to improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives

Our Vision is to empower people to find a way forward and prevent issues escalating by providing free accessible advice.

Our Mission is to respond effectively to meet the need for free, confidential advice to help people resolve their problems and campaign on big issues when their voices need to be heard. We aim to deliver services of the highest quality and constantly seek to improve through listening, reflection, learning and action. Everything we do - and the way we work - benefits individuals and society. We are committed to ensuring organisational resources are responsibly invested.

Our project

Our Prevention of Homelessness Team provide advice and advocacy to clients threatened with homelessness. We provide advice to clients with rent arrears and negotiate affordable repayment agreements with their landlords. We are able to carry out benefit checks and income maximisation for clients who are facing redundancy, or loss of income. Clients with debts, other than rent arrears, are referred to our Specialist Money Advice Team. 

We provide advice regarding the rights and obligations of clients who have little or no security of tenure, such as excluded occupiers and occupiers with basic protection. In addition, we advise clients of their occupation rights and options following relationship breakdown. We are able to provide some advice to clients facing disrepair issues.  Complicated cases and clients who require technical legal representation are referred to a Legal Aid Solicitor. 

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, we expect to see a huge increase in the number of clients seeking help for these issues. We are raising funds to ensure the continuation of the work carried out by our Prevention of Homelessness Specialists. The money raised will help us to carry out this important and valuable work of keeping people in their homes, and helping them plan for the future so they don't find themselves in this position again. 

Some examples of clients we have helped

Case Study 1. Elena was issued with a negative homelessness decision by the council which we successfully challenged and the decision was overturned on review. Elena and her children continue to be accommodated by the council.

Case Study 2. John had lost his job and was in receipt of Universal Credit. He sought advice from us as he had rent arrears of over £1500 and other priority debts. Due to the level of arrears the landlord had served him with a notice seeking possession. John was threatened with homelessness and the judge would have had no option but to grant an outright possession order if the landlord had issued court proceedings.  John’s budget sheet had a monthly deficit of nearly £450 and he was struggling to pay his bills. He was assisted with an application for Discretionary Housing Payment and Council Tax Support. Income maximisation advice was provided to John and consequently he was awarded a lump sum of just under £1200, which reduced his rent arrears to under £350, and an ongoing award of nearly £200 every 4 weeks. He was also awarded Council Tax Support of £13 per week. This resulted in his monthly deficit being reduced to less than £120. He is currently applying for the LITE water tariff and for fuel grants, which if awarded would reduce his water and fuel debts. John has been referred for debt advice and we believe that we have managed to prevent his homelessness.  

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