A debt advice worker, funded by Corby Council, has joined the town’s Citizens Advice team to help families struggling to cope with welfare reforms.
The move is one of a number of measures introduced by the borough council to support and advise people coping with benefit cuts and changes.
A series of drop-in advice sessions have been held at the council’s One Stop Shop in the Cube this month and the council’s housing and benefit officers are on hand to speak to residents.
Space in the Cube has been provided for Citizens Advice to operate and the additional debt advice worker will be dealing with debt relief orders, repayment plans, bank accounts, budgeting, and the prevention of homelessness.
Residents affected by welfare reforms can also seek help through the council’s discretionary housing payment fund of £92,250 for 2013/14 to help ease the most vulnerable through the changes.
Grants will be allocated on income and expenditure, the reason for the shortfall, the potential for making cuts to out-goings, the provision of a long-term plan to sustain their tenancy, as well as any significant health issues.
Deputy leader of Corby Council, Cllr Jean Addison, said: “We knew that the welfare reforms put in place by central Government were going to have a big impact on some of our residents and we have been putting support in place in order for families to get the right information and help.
“I would urge anyone who is in any doubt about the changes to the benefit system or is struggling to cope with their financial circumstances following the changes to make sure they have a chat with people there to help as soon as possible.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), Corby Citizens Advice Bureau or Corby Council’s benefits advisors and housing officers are all there to make sure residents have the right support and information.”
Corby Council is also adding two financial inclusion officers to its housing team to help support tenants in financial difficulties, ensure they are maximising their income and help them manage their money in this new financial environment.
Housing officers are also supporting all households who wish to downsize or who find their current accommodation unaffordable.