Funding will help people access the benefits they need

Leading councillors have agreed to a scheme which will help ensure vulnerable people in Chichester District are accessing the right benefits so that they do not go into debt and become homeless.

Chichester District Council has secured funding of almost £300,000 for the next two years from the Government's Flexible Homelessness Support Grant, with more due to be approved for 2019 - 2020.

The council's Cabinet has agreed for the money to be ring fenced, so that it will only be spent on homelessness services.

Councillor Jane Kilby, Cabinet Member for Housing at Chichester District Council, said: "We anticipate that as a result of the roll-out of Universal Credit, that we will receive an increase in the number of people who want advice and support. This funding will help us provide housing options advice at an early stage.

"It will also ensure that residents are accessing all the benefits that they are entitled to, at the earliest opportunity. The idea is that this intervention will prevent people from building up debt and then going into arrears with their rent.

"As a council, we are committed to supporting vulnerable people and those on low incomes in our district and we believe in being proactive to help people. Last year we held an event where residents could find out more about benefits changes so we could identify those people most at risk.

"Our housing and benefits teams work closely with residents to ensure they are in contact with other council departments and agencies for the right support."

Date of Release: 20 June 2017

Reference: 3725