The companies that operate council homes in both Newcastle and Gateshead are coming together to hold “swap it” events in which people from both sides of the river can exchange homes that are either too big or too small for them.
Hundreds of families in both communities have been hit by the Government’s bedroom tax if they have too many spare rooms for the numbers of people occupying their property.
But many have been unable to downsize because there aren’t the smaller properties available for them to move into.
It is hoped the swap events will make it easier for them to find better houses for their needs.
Kevin Johnson, The Gateshead Housing Company’s head of customer services, said: “Some of our customers have found themselves in a home that is either too big or too small for their household needs.
“Our mutual exchange scheme offers tenants the option to avoid waiting for a suitable home to come up and potentially move more quickly.”
John Urwin, manager of housing needs at Your Homes Newcastle, said, “The impact of welfare reform has meant that lots of our tenants are looking to downsize but with a lack of suitable sized accommodation this isn’t always possible. Mutual exchange is yet another option for tenants that not only benefits the person needing to downsize, but also helps free up much needed family accommodation.”
Sessions are being held for people wanting to swap their houses on April 29 at Gateshead Civic Centre, and at Bewick Hall, in Newcastle City Library, on May 1. Both run from 10am to 12 noon.
Tenants wanting to book their place on either event can call Your Homes Newcastle on 0191 278 8600, text ‘Swap’ followed by their name to 0781 4753088 or e-mail email@example.com. Information is also available online at www.yhn.org.uk or www.gatesheadhousing.co.uk/swapit .
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 28 March 2014