The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) has supported East Lothian Council to employ two new tenancy support workers in Musselburgh.
Based at the Brunton Hall the post will be funded for an initial period of 18 months through SLAB’s Making Advice Work funding programme.
The workers specialise in helping council and housing association tenants who are struggling with changes to their benefits, and can meet them at a mutually convenient venue elsewhere in the county, if necessary.
Their role is to help people with budgeting and money management, source help with debt and access any funding that might be available, to try and make sure that tenants don’t lose their housing.
Colin Lancaster, director of Policy and Development at the Scottish Legal Aid Board, said the programme was funded by the Scottish Government as part of its Making Justice Work Programme.
He went on: “I hope that the project is a great success and is able to succeed in its goal of helping ensure East Lothian Council customers receive budgeting advice and get the benefits to which they are entitled.
“Good support and advice can make a real difference to vulnerable tenants by reducing the impact of changes to the benefit system, particularly those changes which are likely to impact on their ability to manage their housing costs or to sustain their tenancies.”
East Lothian Council’s Housing Spokesperson, Councillor Norman Hampshire, said: “We are delighted to have support from the Scottish Legal Aid Board for these much needed new Tenancy Support Workers, who are specifically tasked with supporting tenants struggling with the impact of benefit changes.
“As many people will probably be aware, the council is trying to identify and support as many people as possible affected by welfare reform – we have recently brought three new benefit adviser posts on stream too and we also have an awareness campaign ongoing around the county and online.
“My message to any council tenant who is finding the changes to their benefits hard to cope with is don’t sit at home worrying – get in touch with us as soon as you can. We can help.”
People affected by changes to their benefits can:
• go to www.eastlothian.gov.uk/welfarereform for lots of online information
• check out Welfare Reform mini-soaps on You Tube for speedy advice and support
• drop into a local council offices and ask for more information about help with benefits changes
• phone 01620 827 827 and ask for benefits advice