Mortgage Rescue Scheme helps people to stay in their home
Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) has helped 29 families struggling to pay their bills to remain in their homes through a mortgage rescue scheme run in partnership with Stafford Borough Council and Citizens Advice.
The scheme gives customers who are in debt and at risk of losing their home the option of selling their property to SARH but continuing to live in it with a more affordable rent.
The Mortgage Rescue Scheme is a government initiative launched in 2009 which SARH began participating with in January 2010. Since then SARH has invested approximately £1.5million in the scheme.
“Many homeowners with mortgages in Stafford and across the country are feeling the impact of the difficult economic climate and it is important that we give people the support they need to stay in their own home,” said Karen Armitage, Chief Executive of SARH.
“This scheme helps people in financial difficulty to avoid the upheaval of moving from the home and community they live in and know well.”
SARH Money Adviser Liz Pilley also offers continued support to families who have sold their home though the mortgage rescue scheme by working with them to look at whether they are receiving all the benefits they are eligible for, options available for payment of utility and other bills and prioritising of payments.
Susan Rowley, 55, and her son Joseph, 20, from Stone, received support from Liz after SARH helped them to stay in the family home of 26 years through the mortgage rescue scheme.
“Before the mortgage rescue I just couldn’t pay my bills. I thought I had exhausted every option open to me and I didn’t know where to turn,” said Susan Rowley.
“Because I have psoriatic arthritis which affects my whole body I can’t work and after the breakup of my marriage I no longer had enough income to pay the mortgage. Some weeks my son and I had less than £40 to live on, I was even counting eggs out so I could work out how long I could make them last.
“Now the mortgage rescue means we have an affordable rent and the peace of mind that support is at hand from SARH if we have any problems with the house. SARH has also helped me to identify the full amount of benefits I’m entitled to and even fitted a lifeline alarm in the home so I feel safe while my son is at work. With SARH’s support we have been able to turn our lives around.”
To benefit from the scheme applicants must contact Stafford Borough Council’s Housing Options Team or the Citizens Advice Bureau. To qualify the household must include someone in priority housing need such as an expectant mother, someone with dependent children, or someone who is vulnerable because of old age or a mental or physical disability.
If an applicant qualifies their home is then independently surveyed by housing organisation Orbit Group to determine its value.
If the property is within the Stafford area it is referred to SARH who will assess if it is suitable.
People who find themselves in difficulties with paying their mortgage should always speak to their lender first but can also contact Stafford Borough Council’s Housing Options Team on 01785 619000 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a drop-in advice surgery each weekday morning between 9.30am to 11.30am.