Vulnerable renters struggling due to the impact of the pandemic will be helped by a £65 million support package announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The funding will be given to councils in England to support low-income earners in rent arrears – helping to prevent homelessness and support families get back on their feet.
Renters across the country have been protected throughout the pandemic because of government action, including a ban on evictions and a £400 billion support package for the economy.
Today’s extra funding comes on top of the £500 million Household Support Fund, which was announced by the government in September and is helping vulnerable households across the country with the cost of food, energy, water and other essentials.
Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes MP said: “We have taken action throughout the pandemic to support the most vulnerable families, and it is vital we continue to provide support as we enter the winter months. This new funding will support families that are struggling and help to get them back on their feet as we begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The £65 million will be available through the winter months and households at risk of eviction or homelessness should contact their local council if they require support. The fund recognises the impact the pandemic has had on households in the private rented sector with the lowest income.
The government has already provided £310 million to councils this year through the Homelessness Prevention Grant and this funding will increase that grant by a further £65 million this year. £140 million is also available through Discretionary Housing Payments, which can also be used to prevent evictions and help people find a new home.
The £500 million Household Support Fund provides £421 million to help vulnerable people in England, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million. The funding is primarily being used to support households with the cost of essentials, although councils have flexibility to best address local needs. At least 50 per cent of the funding is reserved for households with children.
It is for councils to determine the best way to support each household on a case-by-case basis. Any payment is likely to be paid directly to the existing landlord, or a new landlord if the money is being used to support a household to find a new home.
The government is grateful to landlords for their support and the funding will mean more of them will be able to reach agreements with existing tenants.