Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cuts to Home Owners' Support Scheme will create needless homelessness across Scotland

Govan Law Centre is very concerned to learn that the Scottish Government will reduce its funding to the very successful Home Owners' Support Fund (HOSF, which includes the Mortgage to Rent Scheme) by a massive 46% or £8.5m from April 1 2012, for the year 2012/13.

The HOSF had funding of £18.5m in 2011/12, but without any apparent public consultation the Scottish Government has decided to slash this budget to £10m for the financial year 2012/13.

GLC's Principal Solicitor Mike Dailly said:
"The Mortgage to Rent Scheme has been a great Scottish success story where demand massively outstrips supply. Often it is the only safety net for vulnerable homeowners facing repossession and homelessness, and without access to it, we are deeply concerned that many Scots are going to become homeless needlessly. Homelessness is a traumatic and terrifying prospect for families, and we should be extending this fantastic scheme in these tough times not cutting it. We hope the Scottish Government will think again on this cut".

"The Scottish Government had made access to the scheme much harder by tightening the eligibility rules in March 2009 and from next month those rules will be tightened once again - especially for bankrupt applicants. Govan Law Centre believes the Home Owner Support Fund is a huge Scottish success story which enables families to keep their homes by becoming a tenant instead of an owner. The scheme needs to be made more available to vulnerable Scots as a core part of Scotland's prevention of homelessness and housing policy and strategy. It is tried and tested. It works".

"Cutting the scheme's funding by almost 50% is the equivalent of taking a life ring from a drowning man or women".

Note:
The Mortgage to Rent (now part of the HOSF) scheme was introduced in Scotland in February 2003: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/254517/0075356.pdf

The equivalent Mortgage Rescue Scheme was introduced in June 2008 in Wales and January 2009 in England: http://www.housingrepossessions.co.uk/mortgage-rescue-scheme.html

Details of the HOSF are available here: www.scotland.gov.uk/hosf

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