People who are struggling to pay rent because of the pandemic may be eligible to access a new £10m grant scheme from the Welsh government.
The Tenancy Hardship Grant will support people in private rented accommodation who have fallen behind on rent by more than eight weeks between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2021.
This new grant will replace the Tenancy Saver Loan, which was introduced in October 2020, and all loans received will be converted to grants.
Minister for Climate Change Julie James, who is responsible for housing, said: ‘I understand the stress and worry people will be experiencing if they have fallen behind in their rent. We also know that once someone falls behind with their rent it can be increasingly difficult for them to catch up without support.
‘We also know that if they are made homeless, the impact on them and their families is huge – so too is the cost to public services of dealing with homelessness. This grant helps to prevent homelessness by helping people address their rent arrears and keep their tenancies.’
Recipients of the grant scheme must have developed rent arrears as a direct result of the pandemic, which may be due to loss of income due to furlough, reduction in work, or because they were only able to claim Statutory Sick Pay when ill with Covid-19. They must also not be in receipt of any housing-related benefits.
The grant will be administered by local authorities, and people who are eligible can register their interest immediately, with grants set to be processed from mid-July.
Julie James said that the goal of the Welsh government is to prevent homelessness, and ensure its occurrence is rare and brief.
‘We have made significant steps to reduce homelessness over the course of the pandemic, supporting more than 10,000 people into accommodation since the beginning of the pandemic. To maintain this momentum, we will continue to provide vital funding to local authorities to prevent homelessness and to support people living in temporary accommodation to move into their own permanent and secure homes,’ she said.
In related news, one in four private renters are worried they will lose their homes, according to new research conducted by Shelter.
Photo by Toa Heftiba