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People to be hit by social housing changes
PEOPLE living in social housing in Wiltshire will have to pay part of their rent if they have a spare room or be forced to downsize.
The Government’s welfare reform will cut the amount of benefit that people can get if they are deemed to have a spare room in their council or housing association home.
From April next year, households will be expected to pay the shortfall, of between 14 and 25 per cent, themselves or be forced to find other accommodation.
All households of working age, receiving housing benefit and with at least one spare bedroom will be affected, including: separated parents who share the care of their children and who may have been allocated an extra bedroom, people who use a spare bedroom when recovering from an illness or operation, foster carers, families with disabled children, and disabled people including people living in adapted or specially designed properties.
The changes aim to cut waiting lists, encourage people to work and to reallocate housing to those who need it most.
Wiltshire Council says it will be writing to those affected and that it is working with different housing associations across the county to see if it can help with filling vacancies or swapping households before the changes come in.
It may also be able to offer short term financial help to those affected, to come out of a discretionary housing fund.
There were 17,088 names on the waiting list for social housing in Wiltshire as of April last year, 7,626 of whom were considered to be households with a desire to move, but are currently suitably housed, 5,174 identified as having a low need for rehousing, and 213 households of the highest priority.