Note to reader: This is a little piece I wrote today for my Reporting lesson at Lambeth College. We were sent onto the streets and given one hour to find a local story and write it up. Approximately 300 words.
“Vulnerable” families facing eviction
Welfare reforms may cause hundreds of vulnerable families to be evicted from their homes.
Lambeth Council are now targeting families who are in debt to the council.
The Clapham Community Project on Bromells Road is running a pilot project to find the best way to engage with families on welfare who are in debt to the council.
The centre, which provides free advice and a community hall, is working with the council to implement a three pronged approach to help families facing eviction.
Mary Lane from the Clapham Community Project said: “These people have a responsibility to the council and other tenants to pay their rent.”
“But the council does not want to evict people who are vulnerable,” she added.
First, the advice centre finds the best means to contact these families, such as letter writing or telephone.
Next, they provide “benefits check”, making sure the family are getting the welfare payments they’re entitled to.
After which, they will make arrangements with the council to pay any outstanding debts in arrears, along with give advice to the family.
The Welfare Reform Act 2012 commenced in April this year.
In total, 3000 families have been affected by welfare reforms, while 600 families are in debt to Lambeth council and are in danger of being evicted from their homes.
These welfare reforms are suspected to increase income poverty along with put added pressure on free advice services.
There are also concerns that current tenants may be priced out the area, leading to a migration of the working class into outer areas of London.
The Chartered Institute of Housing believe that the cumlative effects of the welfare reform means that by 2020 every tenants housing benefit will be too low to cover the cost of rent.