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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Helping avoid homelessness

At a Conference to commemorate the third anniversary of the One Wales Government the First Minister cited his Government's mortgage rescue scheme as an example of success. I do not disagree, however Carwyn Jones' words ring fairly hollow in the light of subsequent changes to that scheme.

The Mortgage Rescue Scheme supports households threatened by repossession by enabling Registered Social Landlords to buy a part or full share in the property. The owner can then remain in their home as a tenant on affordable rent. A modest £9m budget has been used to good effect. The alternative is to put a greater strain on local authorities, costing more money and potentially putting families out onto the street.

However, the scheme has now effectively been limited to 'those applicants who are disabled and whose homes have been adapted to meet their needs'. This means that the extra £2 million that has been found to fund the continuance of the scheme is not available to the vast majority of those who need it.

A recent request for information has identified that of the 336 Mortgage Rescue Scheme applications approved by the Welsh Assembly Government since the scheme started in 2008, 16 were from households adapted for disabled people and thus eligible under the new criteria.

At that rate there is little danger that the Minister will overspend this budget again whilst many people will lose their homes who previously had been protected from repossession by this safety net.
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