Help for people worried about homelessness

People worried about losing their homes in East Cambridgeshire are being encouraged to seek support from East Cambridgeshire District Council.

The council fears an increasing number of people in the district could be facing homelessness as the cost of mortgages rise or people fall behind on rent payments during the cost of living crisis.

Over the last six months, it has seen a 60 per cent rise in the number of people coming through its doors at The Grange, seeking cost of living advice. The council is able to offer residents a one-stop shop when it comes to accessing free and impartial housing and community advice, as well as one to one meetings with its housing options court advisor.

Now, a new initiative has been launched by the government offering free legal advice to people at risk of losing their homes, helping to avoid lengthy and costly court proceedings.

The advice will be available from the moment a written notice is received by a tenant or homeowner, which could be in the form of an email from a landlord or letter from a mortgage provider. They will also be able to have legal representation in court, regardless of their financial circumstances. The scheme aims to resolve issues early to help keep people in their homes.

Angela Parmenter, Housing and Community Advice Manager at the council, said: “Since the start of the year we have seen an increasing number of people come through our doors at The Grange in Ely, seeking help and advice. As bills become harder and harder to pay, and mortgage and rent payments increase, many of these are worried about the risk of losing their homes.

“We have increased the support we are able to offer at the council to help manage this. In addition to helping people with advice on benefits, housing and cost of living advice, this new scheme to provide free legal advice will offer anyone worried about losing their home an extra layer of protection.

“The most important thing I would say to people is, if you need help please do ask. There is a lot of support and options out there – the great thing about the service we offer is we have all of that information to hand, with many of our clients saving themselves money or being able to access new benefits or grants after just one visit.”