THE Government has praised borough chiefs for helping to ensure more than 2,000 vulnerable residents had a safe place to live over the past year.

In a letter to council leader Cllr Samantha Dixon, Heather Wheeler MP, minister for housing and homelessness, recognised the work Cheshire West and Chester Council has done to help people on low incomes find a home.

Mrs Wheeler said: "I would like to commend the work being undertaken in Cheshire West to improve access to the private rented sector and to develop meaningful relationships with private landlords.

"We recognise that such work is an important part in both preventing and supporting people’s recovery from homelessness."

CWAC is working to help tackle some of the barriers homeless people face when trying to rent in the private sector – such as expensive deposits, rents, fees, and reluctance amongst many landlords to rent to vulnerable tenants.

According to homelessness charity Crisis, 55 per cent of landlords in the private rented sector are unwilling to let to tenants in receipt of housing benefit or Universal Credit, and more than eighty per cent are reluctant to rent to homeless people.

CWAC's help to rent schemes include pre-tenancy training and ongoing support for homeless people when they become tenants, written guarantees for landlords in place of cash deposits, and help to improve the function of Universal Credit so rents are paid on time.

Cllr Dixon added: "We have done a lot to develop and maintain a meaningful relationship with private landlords.

"We have found that working closely with landlords helps to de-risk the private rented sector, and support homeless people, vulnerable tenants and landlords to make the private sector a viable option."

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