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News 9


Joe: Support turned my life around


OUR Tenancy Support Service is a lifeline to people who may be struggling to make a go of their home. Anything from debt to health


You can bank on basic accounts


New fee-free banking can help you N


EW basic bank accounts can help you manage your money without fear of charges.


Anyone claiming the new benefit


Universal Credit needs a bank account. Now, fee-free bank accounts mean


there are no charges if a Direct Debit or a standing order fails. In some cases, charges had been as high as £35 and could mount up to hundreds of pounds. The new accounts mean people


won’t be forced into an overdraft because of these fees. Many High Street banks now have


fee-free accounts open to anyone who doesn’t already have one or who


can’t use their existing account due to financial difficulty. GHA Chair Gordon Sloan said: “Fee-


free bank accounts can make a big difference to people – and we can help you open one. “The lack of charges is particularly good news for tenants who pay their rent by Direct Debit. “We can help tenants open a new basic bank account - and we can help them set up a Direct Debit on any day of the month so they can pay their rent easily.” If you’re interested in opening a


fee-free bank account, talk to your housing officer.


Online calculator budget boost


WE’VE launched a new budget calculator to help tenants manage their money. An online calculator on our website can


show how much money comes in and goes out from your home. The quick and easy four-step budgeting tool helps tenants keep on top of their finances and not fall into debt. If you are struggling with money issues,


remember speak to your housing officer as soon as you can. We're here to help. Go to www.gha.org.uk


problems can stop people managing to live well and stay safe at home – and that’s where Tenancy Support Service comes in. They can help with advice on managing money, filling in forms or even booking an appointment with a doctor – or even get help with a washing machine. One GHA tenant, Joe, from


Royston, said the help he got turned his life around. Joe said: “Staff visited me every


week to see how I was and what help I needed. I had no carpets and they sorted that out for me and helped me get a cooker too. “If I didn’t get that support I don’t know how I would have coped.” If you, or someone you know, might need help from our Tenancy Support Service, talk to your housing officer.


Reminder on benefit cap


REMEMBER, we are here to help if you are affected by the new benefit cap.


The new limit – which includes Housing Benefit paid directly to your landlord – is being introduced in November. The limit – or benefit cap – is changing from £26k a year to £20k a year. Lone parents and families with


three or more children are most likely to be affected. There are some exemptions, such as for disabled people and carers, and we can help you apply. To make an appointment with


a welfare benefits advisor, talk to your housing officer.


theKEY - www.gha.org.uk


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