Funding from the Government for the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme has been increased from £134,149 in 2012/13 to £384,941 for 2013/14, to help people who will be affected by the introduction of welfare reform.
The scheme, which is an emergency fund to help reduce hardship whilst people find alternative solutions to housing issues, was launched by the Government in 2001 and is administered locally by Calderdale Council for residents of the borough.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet has been recommended to approve Calderdale’s Discretionary Housing Payment scheme which takes effect from 1 April 2013, when it meets on Monday 8 April.
The introduction of welfare reform is likely to lead to an increase in the number of applications for discretionary housing payments from people affected by the introduction of the benefits cap and the spare room subsidy. The fund gives people short term financial support, in addition to any welfare benefits which they receive, when the Council considers that help with housing costs is required.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Pauline Nash said:
“The discretionary payment scheme is vital to support the people most affected by changes to the welfare system. This emergency fund is designed to support those in greatest need, helping to prevent homelessness and poverty.”
Awards from the discretionary housing payment scheme are intended to cover shortfalls due to a reduction in housing benefit or in universal credit, for example to prevent a household becoming homeless whilst people find alternative housing solutions.
The amount of funding for the scheme is limited and requests for support will be decided on a case by case basis after considering applicants individual situation and needs.