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In the last issue of echo we informed you of the

Government’s announcement that, starting from April

2016, housing association rents will be reduced by one

per cent each year for the next four years.

At the beginning of March we sent letters to all our

residents telling them what their new rent charge will be.

Please read your letter carefully and adjust your

payments accordingly.

The reduction in rent only applies to tenants of rented

homes. It does not affect shared owners.

Your rent changes

Help with debt

Details of changes to service charges are also included

in the letter.

If you receive Housing Benefit, you must also

notify your local council so they can update your


If you receive Universal Credit, please contact us

on 0300 123 6000 to review your payment.

You can also call this number if you have any questions

about the one per cent reductions, or visit our website

for more information.

Tax Help For Older People is a charity that provides free

professional help, mainly to older people with incomes up

to £20,000.

Its professional advisers offer support and guidance

on personal tax by phone, post or email. For more

complex issues face-to-face meetings can be arranged

with a local volunteer adviser.

Tax doesn’t need

to be taxing

Are you over 60 and need a helping hand with your personal taxes?

If you are caring for an eligible older person you may

also request help on their behalf. You do not need power

of attorney to do this.

To find out if the charity can help you, please call

0845 601 3321 / 01308 488066 or visit

If you are worried about being in debt, support is

available. Miss Smith’s [not her real name] story shows

how the Citizens Advice Bureau can help.

39-year-old Miss Smith lived by herself in a one-bedroom

emh homes property. Because of problems with anxiety,

depression and chronic pain, she was unable to work

and was receiving £73.10 per week Job Seekers

Allowance. Since she had not claimed any other

benefits, she had fallen behind with her rent, council tax

and water payments, and was having to rely on financial

help from family and friends, plus donations from a local


“I felt like everything was just getting out of

control, I couldn’t see a way out, so I just

stuck my head in the sand, which only made

the situation worse.”

But she then contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau. Their

free service helped Miss Smith to make a successful claim

for Housing and Council Tax Benefit, which has boosted

her income by more than £4,500 a year.

She has now made agreements to pay off her

arrears, and has set up Direct Debits to make the

payments manageable.

“Without the support of the Citizens Advice

Bureau, I don’t think I would have ever got

myself out of debt. I’m so much happier now

and can start to get my life back on track.”

Miss Smith

To find out how the Citizens Advice Bureau could

help you, visit