HOMEOWNERS facing eviction because of mortgage arrears could be thrown a lifeline under a new scheme being launched by a West Yorkshire council.
Doncaster Council and its arms-length housing company, St Leger Homes, are set to launch the Mortgage Breathing Space scheme in partnership with Wakefield Council.
Under the scheme, hardpressed homeowners will be able to access financial advice, and it will also provide eligible homeowners who are facing eviction with interest-free secured loans of up to £15,000 to tide them over.
The council said that the number of owner occupiers threatened with eviction due to mortgage arrears in Doncaster is “relatively low”. Between April 2017 and April 2018, 34 people approached the St Leger Homes’ housing options team seeking advice related to their mortgage arrears.
“This scheme will provide homeowners with a potential safety net if they get into difficulties paying their mortgage,” said Councillor Glyn Jones, the council’s deputy mayor and cabinet member for housing and equalities.
“It will give them the breathing space they need so they can stay in their home and get back on track. If any household is threatened with eviction and homelessness due to mortgage arrears we urge them to contact St Leger Homes to see what support is available.
“Preventing people from becoming homeless and putting tailored support in place for those who already are homeless is a key focus. By working with St Leger Homes and other partners on initiatives such as the Mortgage Breathing Space scheme and supporting rough sleepers through the Complex Lives Alliance, we are seeing some real successes and making a positive difference in preventing homelessness locally.”
Paul Tanney, chief executive of St Leger Homes, added: “There are many reasons why someone may get into mortgage arrears – it could be due to a drop in income, ill health or some other change in circumstances – whatever the reason it’s important people speak out and get help before the situation puts their home at serious risk.
“By providing financial advice and an interest free loan, the Mortgage Breathing Space scheme aims to give people the time and support needed to help homeowners resolve their difficulties whilst remaining living in their own property.
“Whilst the number of people in this situation is thankfully relatively small, it is still important that we are able to give this assistance where it is needed. This scheme will help give us another option to help assist people facing homelessness and could make a real difference to families struggling in Doncaster.”