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First success in beating the ‘bedroom tax’

“Helping Flora save almost a thousand pounds a year is just the first step in guiding residents through the Government’s benefit changes, by matching tenants who have extra bedrooms with people in need of bigger homes.”

Terry Gallagher, Deputy Chief Executive Lambeth London Living

Lambeth London Living has helped a resident to save money by using a mutual exchange to move home.

It took just six weeks for tenant, Flora Tuitt, to downsize from her three bedroom home in Albert Carr Gardens to a two bedroom property, locally in Streatham, saving her up to £17.47 a week - almost £1,000 a year.

Flora said “I’m really happy in my new home, things have moved really quickly. I went to the Mutual exchange surgery in Upper Norwood on 20 February and was settled into my new home by 8 April.

“I heard about the Mutual exchange surgery from a leaflet through my door. After being signed up to HomeSwapper and Home connections and not getting anywhere I decided to go and find out what this was about.

“I had a phone call from Sacha, one of Lambeth London Living’s Welfare Reform project officers to say there was a possible match and we arranged to view each other’s homes. I had a lovely three bed flat, with large rooms and a nice kitchen, which the other person really liked, and I really liked their home.

“I couldn’t have done this without Sacha’s help. I’ve moved locally, within Streatham and I’m really happy so far in my new flat. The rooms are reasonably sized and I’ve also got a lovely balcony so I can sit out on and enjoy the sun.”

Flora was helped through the Mutual exchange process by Welfare Reform Officer, Sacha Wells, who said “We’ve had a lot of interest in Mutual exchange; it’s really rewarding to help people who may struggle to pay their rent due to the Welafre reforms.”

Terry Gallagher, Deputy Chief Executive of Lambeth London Living said, “Our pilot work across Lambeth will continue to look at how we can help residents affected by Benefit changes. We have also launched benefit and Welfare Reform calculators on our website so that our tenants can find out how they will be affected by changes coming later this year and work with our Welfare Reform team to limit any impact”.

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