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All Change At Caberfeidh Court

16th August 2012

Cairn Housing Association is pleased to announce that it's all change at Caberfeidh Court, Wick.

After a fundamental review of the services offered at Caberfeidh Court it has been decided that the housing court at Wellington Avenue in Wick is to be redesignated as Retirement Housing. This means that anyone aged 50 or more can now be considered for housing at the Court.

Caroline MacAskill, Head of Service for Cairn Housing Association said, "This means that we can now offer the opportunity for a much wider range of local people to consider moving to Caberfeidh Court".

As a result of a recent review of Cairn's Pet Policy, incoming tenants at Caberfeidh Court overwhelmingly stated they wanted to be able to keep their pets. So the Policy has been changed and anyone now wishing to keep a cat or dog need only sign an agreement based on responsible pet ownership.

A new tenant to Caberfeidh Court, Miss Garry Robertson said "There is a time for everything, and shortly the time will come for me to leave my house with a stairs, preferably before I manage to fall down the stairs. So this is why I decided in the spring to look at Caberfeidh Court, reasoning that as I am "getting on a bit", being somewhere with other people around would make sense. On the other hand, I was going nowhere without my companion of more than two years, Socrates the cat, aka Socs. Now, Cairn's pet policy in the Court has been changed, that was all I needed to know in order to put in an application, so shortly Socs and I will be on the move to Caberfeidh Court."

Caroline MacAskill, Head of Service (North) said: "Caring for a pet can bring companionship and happiness to many people."

"We are always keen to listen to what our customers are telling us and in this case it was clear that existing and potential tenants want to be able to keep cats and dogs at the Court so, based on responsible pet ownership, we are only too happy to change our policy."

The timing of the changes at Caberfeidh also coincides with the UK Government's wider welfare reforms. From April 2013 there are changes to the rules on the number of bedrooms Housing Benefit will pay for. This is expected to affect almost 2000 social housing tenants in the Highlands. On average tenants in Scotland are expected to lose £12 per week in Housing Benefit if they have one spare bedroom and £22 per week Housing Benefit if they have two or more spare bedrooms.

The changes are designed to cut under-occupancy rates by cutting the welfare benefits of working age households who are deemed to have too many bedrooms for their household needs. Under the new rules, single people or couples for example will be able to claim Housing Benefit on only one bedroom. The only exception will be disabled tenants or their partners who need a non-resident overnight carer, and they will be allowed an extra room.

Bob Pettitt, Head of Care & Support said: "This change to Housing Benefit alone will have a massive impact on potentially hundreds of social housing tenants in Caithness. By changing Caberfeidh Court to a retirement housing scheme we are now able to offer an alternative housing option for some older people of working age or approaching retirement who want a smaller and more manageable home and might have been be financially penalised by the changes."

"If people are interested in moving to the Court and wish to see it then they just need to contact Cairn to arrange a visit. We are also able to offer financial assistance of up to £500 towards the costs of moving"

"If anyone is concerned that they may be affected by the Housing Benefit changes they can visit the Welfare Reform page in the Tenant Zone of our website. A free on-line calculator will provide an indication of whether tenants will be affected by the change and if so, how much benefit they are likely to lose."

Background information

1. Cairn Housing Association operates throughout Scotland offering a range of affordable housing and related services. With over 3,000 homes under management and offices in Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow, Coatbridge, Wick and Thurso, the Association addresses the housing needs of people in both urban and rural areas, including older people and those who need specialised support. 

Cairn works in partnership with the Scottish Government, local authorities and others, to create strong sustainable communities by improving access to and choice in affordable housing and services.
We are a non-profit distributing organisation, controlled by a Board. We are a recognised Scottish charity and registered with the Scottish Housing Regulator as a Registered Social Landlord (RSL). 

2. Caberfeidh Court, Wick opened as sheltered housing in 1981 and consists of a total of 35 flats and studio flats. The court offers a door entry system and a range of communal facilities including a lounge for socialising and a communal garden.

The Court now provides accommodation for people aged 50 and over. Any tenant who feels they require other support services while in Caberfeidh Court can have their needs assessed by Health & Social Care services.

3. UK Government is reforming the benefit system for working age people through the Welfare Reform Act (2012). The Act will make significant changes to the welfare system; these changes are likely to affect many social housing tenants from April 2013.

Some of the changes include:

The replacement of all working age benefits with a Universal Credit
Reductions in Housing Benefit for social housing tenants if they have more bedrooms than the Department of Work and Pensions determine is necessary.
For most households the option of having their Housing Benefit paid direct to their landlord will no longer be possible.
Changes to Working Tax Credits
Reassessment of Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowances
The replacement of Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payments
The management of Council Tax Benefit and Social Fund will be devolved to the Scottish Government and the total amount of money available will be reduced

4. The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has produced an estimate of the impact on "social housing rents" (i.e. council, housing association and co-operative rents) by Scottish constituency area, based on modelling done by the National Housing Federation. Details can be accessed via the SFHA website using the link below.
http://www.sfha.co.uk/sfha/current-campaigns/housing-benefit/menu-id-90.html

5. The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has produced a short guide on the changes to the rules on the number of bedrooms Housing Benefit will pay for from April 2013. This can be accessed at
Welfare Reform Act: Under-occupancy and the Bedroom Tax

6. The calculator can be accessed direct through the link below
http://entitledtofortenants.com/calculator.aspx

 

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