Citizens Advice Milton Keynes warns of eviction rise post Covid-19

    The Citizens Advice service in Milton Keynes is warning of a crisis for private renters with concerns around a ‘post pandemic rise’ in evictions and threatened homelessness.

    The local charity, which provided support to 8000 people in MK last year, said there were early signs of an increase in the number of enquiries it’s receiving about housing problems, with a troubling 33% spike in requests for help with issues in the private rented sector

    Ben Thomas, the bureau’s Director said, "We’ve had a worryingly high number of calls, as well as visits to our webpages, about applying for homelessness help. Its likely that the ‘eviction ban’ which ended in May this year deterred some people from seeking help earlier."

    Citizens Advice MK fears that with the winding down of furlough support and other protective measures, many tenants are facing a rent arrears crisis this autumn and an increased risk of losing their homes.

    Mr Thomas, who’s been at the helm of the charity since 2015, said his staff were working closely with Milton Keynes Council to encourage tenants who were worried about their accommodation, to seek help as soon as possible. "We’ve been working in partnership with the Council’s Housing Solutions Team who have referred around 70 people to our Homelessness Prevention Support Service since October. In addition to that a further 100 tenants called us directly for help because they couldn’t pay their rent."

    Timing, he warned, is critical, especially for those with wider debt and money problems. "If you’re worried you might miss a rent payment in the next few months, I can’t stress how important it is to get in touch sooner rather than later.’  – there’s lots more we can do to help you stay in your home if we deal with things earlier on, rather than the day before eviction day."

    If you need to speak to someone about debt and money problems, or you are worried about losing your home, you can call Citizens Advice Milton Keynes on freephone 0808 278 7991, lines are open Mon – Fri 9:00am – 5:00pm or visit their website for details of all their services across MK.

    You can listen back to MKFM's interview with Ben Thomas from MK Citizens Advice Bureau about their Homelessness Prevention Service in Milton Keynes below.

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