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Gloucestershire Business News

Councils to tackle barriers to finding a new home

A new way of helping people find a home across two Gloucestershire districts is being explored.

The council-owned shared service organisation Publica is working with three councils - including Cotswold and Forest of Dean District to take a collaborative approach at tackling waiting lists.

A dedicated housing team will work with property specialists to overcome the barriers that are preventing people from finding a new home in the region.

The team will launch a special incentive scheme at a series of events targeted at private landlords and housing agents next week.

The forums will be held in each district and will also provide a platform for open discussion with landlords and agents about how more private rented accommodation can be made available for people on the waiting list and in receipt of benefits.

Housing Property Manager Chauncy Seed, who is organising the events, said: "There is very little social housing available across the districts and potential tenants face long waiting lists.

"One way we could reduce the wait is to help people get into the private sector but we know there are obstacles to this.

"We want to tackle these by incentivising private landlords and helping would-be tenants."

Using cash awarded by the Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government's Private Rented Sector Access Fund, the scheme will provide deposits and rent advances - a common barrier for people on the housing waiting list.

The funding will also help to bridge the gap between the local housing allowance and market rates.

Private landlords are often unwilling to consider tenants on benefits as market rents are often higher. Publica's housing team is funding incentives for landlords to assist with any shortfall.

The scheme will also allow private sector properties to be advertised on the councils' Homeseeker Plus system used by those searching and bidding for social housing. Landlords will benefit from free advertising on the system later in the year.

Ms Seed added: "The successful funding bid was fantastic news as it has allowed us to take a proactive, problem-solving approach. We are dedicated to preventing residents across our councils from becoming homeless and this scheme will make a real difference."

The forums will take place at Forest of Dean District Council offices from 5-7pm on Monday 13 May; at Cotswold District Council offices from 5-7pm on Tuesday 14 May and at West Oxfordshire District Council offices on Thursday 16 May from 5-7pm.

There are still spaces for interested parties and anyone wishing to attend should email chauncy.seed@publicagroup.uk

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