Residents invited to drop-in with their housing queries **Current**
A local landlord’s weekly housing surgeries will answer tenant queries.
East Durham Homes hosts regular two-hour drop-ins at Durham County Council’s Customer Access Point in St Johns Square, Seaham.
Customers can call in on Wednesdays between 2pm and 5pm to talk to an East Durham Homes officer about their rent, repairs, antisocial behaviour concerns, and find out about other support services.
Gary Lormor, Customer Services Manager, said: “These informal sessions are a great way for people to talk to one of our advisers face to face if they are in the Seaham area.”
For more information call East Durham Homes on 0800 032 0835 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest housing magazine only a click away **Current**
The latest issue of County Durham Housing Group’s digital newsletter is available online.
May’s edition of ‘group news’ can now be found at www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk
Packed with the latest information from landlords Dale & Valley Homes, Durham City Homes and East Durham Homes, readers can also find out about work on the first new homes to be built as part of a £30m investment, how welfare advisors found more than £3m of unclaimed benefits and tax credits, and how the group is supporting a national campaign for more affordable homes.
Group Communications Manager, Jill Ancrum, said: “Whether it’s building new homes, or restoring historic ones; helping tenants understand the benefits system or raising money for charity, we’ve got lots of exciting projects all across the region right now. group news is the best way to find out about them all in one place.
“Our online newsletter is fully responsive, so all of the latest articles can be read on a PC, laptop, tablet and mobile phone.”
For a printed copy of the magazine email email@example.com or contact:
Dale & Valley Homes: 0800 083 0333
Durham City Homes: 0800 068 0013
East Durham Homes: 0800 032 0835
Views on new homes wanted **Current**
Bowburn residents have been invited to a public consultation event on plans for new affordable homes in their community.
County Durham Housing Group has plans to build 10 homes on land in Surtees Avenue near the centre of Bowburn. The three bedroom homes would be available under a rent-to-buy scheme once completed.
Featuring high levels of insulation, the latest heating systems and double glazing; they are expected to bring big savings to tenants when compared with older homes, particularly those in the private rented sector.
The consultation event takes place on Wednesday, 7 June at Bowburn Community Centre on Durham Road between 4pm and 6pm. Staff from County Durham Housing Group will be on hand to talk about the project and show local residents detailed plans of the proposed new homes.
County Durham Housing Group Head of Development and Commercial Property, Kate Abson, said: “These new homes could help to meet demand for high quality and affordable new homes in Bowburn. We want to hear what local people think about the proposals and to answer any questions they may have about the potential development.”
The development forms part of an overall 297 home new build programme by the group between the Tyne and Tees across a three year period. By 2020, County Durham Housing Group will have invested £32m across 17 sites providing a significant boost to employment in the area.
“Our programme of new build houses right across the area is designed to help deliver affordable homes in the places where they’re really needed as well as providing a boost for communities and new jobs during construction.” Ms Abson added.
Benefits experts urge checks **Current**
Benefits experts at one of the north east’s largest landlords are urging tenants to check that their details are up to date after identifying more than £3m of unclaimed welfare benefits and tax credits in just 12 months.
Welfare Benefits Advisors at County Durham Housing Group are reminding tenants of the importance of keeping their personal details up to date and making sure they notify the relevant authorities about changes in their circumstances. The team have uncovered dozens of cases where tenants were seriously struggling to make ends meet as a direct result of old or incomplete information in their benefits claims.
In one case, a tenant with severe health issues had claimed over £10,000 less than she was entitled to before intervention from the County Durham Housing Group team. In total the team found £3,313, 392.63 in underpaid benefits from April 2016 to April 2017.
Lynda Monaghan, Welfare Benefits Officer at County Durham Housing Group, said: “In many cases we’re finding vulnerable people in real hardship, essentially because they don’t fully understand the complexities of the benefits system. We’ve found people who are suffering from huge anxiety problems, struggling to pay their rent and getting into debt when they’re entitled to benefits that could prevent such hardship.
“A large proportion of the people we speak to have made, or have been the subject of, simple mistakes when they’ve been injured, made unemployed, retired or changed their family circumstances.
But these mistakes have been having a major impact on people’s lives. It costs nothing to get advice and it could make the difference between really struggling day to day and getting by.”
New changes to the benefits system are also catching people out according to Lynda, with spare room subsidy and discretionary housing payments queries being high on the list of enquiries.
A special drop in event where tenants will be able to speak face to face with welfare benefits experts will be taking place at East Durham Homes Customer Service Centre on Yoden Way in the Castle Dene shopping centre, Peterlee on Thursday, 1 June. The session will run from 2pm to 4pm with specialists on hand throughout to answer any queries.
In another case, a disabled tenant had not claimed over £6,000 of enhanced personal independence payments that he was entitled to, following changes to the disability living allowance.
“We know that some people don’t like talking about benefits, but our team are here to offer good advice to help those who genuinely need it. We’re not here to catch people out.” Lynda added.
County Durham Housing Group is one of the region’s largest landlords with more than 18,000 properties. The group includes Dale & Valley Homes, Durham City Homes and East Durham Homes.
More information on benefits advice for tenants is available on the group’s website, www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk or by calling 0800 083 0333 for Dale & Valley Homes tenants, 0800 068 0013 for Durham City Homes tenants and 0800 032 0835 for East Durham Homes tenants.