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Special edition of council tenantsí magazine offers money advice

21/03/14

A special edition of Aberdeen City Council's tenants' magazine, Newsbite has been published to ensure people are aware of the range of services available to them if they are having difficulty keeping up with rent payments.

The magazine contains practical advice on money management and budgeting and provides contact details for free and confidential services from Aberdeen City Council and other organisations which can help those struggling financially.

It also highlights the importance of paying rent and the risk to tenancy if help and advice is not sought at the earliest opportunity and rent continues to go unpaid.

Aberdeen City Council Housing and Environment Convener Councillor Neil Cooney said the aim of the special edition of Newsbite was to remind tenants that the council is here to help and to stress the importance of early intervention.

He said: "I asked for this special edition of Newsbite to be sent to tenants to ensure they are aware of the range of services available to them if they are struggling financially.

"I would urge all tenants to take the time to read the magazine when it arrives in the coming days and keep it to hand for use now or in the future.

Cllr Cooney added: "We know tenants can find it difficult to make ends meet and have to juggle their money to pay bills; this is particularly true when there are significant changes to housing and other benefits which tenants depend on.

"However, it is important that tenants understand that they could lose their tenancy if they do not pay their rent or ask us for help or advice regarding budgeting or benefit claims. The longer tenants wait to talk to us, the more difficult they may find it to bring themselves to do so in the future. We are here to help."

Aberdeen City Council Head of Housing and Community Safety Donald Urquhart said: "We are committed to working with tenants who have fallen into rent arrears but can only help if they make contact at the earliest opportunity.

"We treat every case of rent arrears on its own merit and strive to make reasonable repayment arrangements that tenants can afford.

"Our process is very much driven by ensuring tenants are aware of the debt and offering assistance by providing details of services or partner agencies that can assist with managing their debt."

Services managed and administered by Aberdeen City Council include the Scottish Welfare Fund; the Aberdeen Money Matters Project; debt advice; homelessness; discretionary housing payments and housing benefit/council tax reduction.

Other non-council services available include Home Start Aberdeen; Aberdeen Illness and Disability Service; Cash in Your Pocket; Aberdeen Citizens Advice Bureau; CAB debt and benefit advice outreach; Care and Repair; Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE); credit unions; the pensions service from the Department for Work and Pensions; Pathways; Grampian MacMillan Cancer Centre Project; SCARF home energy advice and VSA Carers Centre.

Full details about services can be found in the special edition of Newsbite, available on the council website.