Scottish Housing Association Chosen for Direct Benefit Payments Scheme

Dunedin Canmore Housing Association (DCHA) are to be the first social landlord in Scotland to take part in the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) scheme beginning on June 11th which will see housing benefit paid directly to social housing tenants.

In January, the Government announced five housing associations and councils across the UK to road test direct payments for twelve months before the measure is brought in during the summer of 2013. Universal Credit will see housing benefit paid directly to both council and housing association tenants and the 12-month project will test how claimants can manage housing benefit monthly payments. Each of the projects will trial direct benefit payments to 2,000 tenants.

Dunedin Canmore Housing Association own and manage around 5,000 homes in Edinburgh, Fife and the Lothian’s which are all protected with landlord insurance and they plan to keep a careful eye on the scheme, implementing a weekly audit. They feel that offering tenants the chance to receive direct payments reflects their commitment to their tenants. It is hoped Dunedin Canmore’s involvement along with the other projects in England and Wales will help housing providers understand the support tenants need, and shape the help that will be available throughout the UK when Universal Credit is introduced.

Graeme Russell, Housing Services Director at DCHA, said: “We have absolutely no doubt that the impending changes to welfare benefits and the implications of direct payments will have a profound impact on tenants and social landlords. Taking part in this project allows us to be proactive and we can drive change and help bring about a culture change. At Dunedin we believe it’s important to encourage financial independence and responsibility. If tenants take responsibility it will foster a sense of citizenship and help build stronger communities. The introduction of Direct Payments under Universal Credit is going to happen. So preparation is key to the future resilience of the sector.”

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