Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Housing Matters – February 2023

Tuesday, 14 February 2023

Our February 2023 newsletter for our housing tenants.

Annual Housing Revenue Account budget meeting

the annual Housing Revenue Account budget presentation in January 2023

Tenants joined staff at the annual Housing Revenue Account budget presentation last month.

Utilising one of the bright and welcoming meeting areas at All Saints View, tenants watched a presentation given by our accounts manager, sharing how we spend your rent money and the plans for the future. After the presentation, senior managers were there to answer questions, followed by a closing speech by our director, Julie Ogley, and Councillor Eugene Ghent, Executive Member for Housing and Assets.

We often hold events and forums where you can join in and make a difference. If you would like to take part or want to start a resident’s group, contact us at tenantinvolvement@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

Newest members of Neighbourhood Operations

One of our new housing maintenance vans

The Neighbourhood Operations team have welcomed two new members this month, Ernie and Fred – trusty vehicles that help our officers get around to carry out estate maintenance.

The vans of our officers Charlie and Kevin have had a makeover with new branding, so they are more recognisable in your neighbourhood. The team have affectionately named them Ernie and Fred as a nod to their number plates.

Do look out for them and give them a wave or say hello when you see them.

To find out more from what Ernie, Fred and the team get up to, take a look at our Housing Facebook page over the coming weeks.

One of our new housing maintenance vans and its team

Out and about, meeting you

Our housing involvement and engagement team

The Involvement and Engagement team have been out and about in the community, talking to residents, seeing how we can help, offering advice and signposting to support agencies.

The team works in partnership with the Community Safety team and other organisations such as town councils and local charities to discuss how to reach and talk to all residents.

Some of the local services the team has connected with are offering support to their communities. One such charity is the Leighton-Linslade Little Helpers, who offer a community fridge, food parcels and a Check in and Chat Café.

There is also support available from the Houghton Regis Helpers.

The team was also part of an event at St Marys Church in Dunstable, to promote and offer help for people’s wellbeing and cost of living. More of these types of events are planned so please do speak to the team if you attend as they are here to listen and help.

The team strongly believes that by working collaboratively with partners from all sectors, we'll be able to provide a better customer service to all residents. Please look out for upcoming events and if you want to be part of these contact our team at: InvolvementandEngagement@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

We want your views on our new Housing Asset Management Strategy

Make sure you have your say on our new draft Housing Asset Management Strategy (HAMS) 2023-2028.

We own and manage 5,422 homes valued at around £608 million. In addition, we look after over 370 leasehold properties and other housing related assets like garages and play areas worth a further £10.8 million.

The draft strategy sets out our key priorities for investing, managing, and maintaining our housing, garages, play areas, parking areas, green spaces and other related assets for the next five years.

Our key priorities include:

  • creating a housing portfolio that responds to local need and demand
  • ensuring the health, safety and security of residents in their homes
  • creating sustainable communities and building energy efficient homes with the goal to be carbon neutral by 2030

The new draft strategy will guide our approach in how we look after all of this, how we will spend our money maintaining it, and invest for the future.

The closing date is Tuesday 25 April 2023.

Important message about Universal Credit and your rent From our Income Management Senior Officer: Anna

Anna in our housing team

Residents across the district are due to start receiving rent increase letters this month: these increases are set by the government.

From Monday 3 April, once everyone has received their rent increase letter from us, any tenants in receipt of Universal Credit, be that full or part housing costs, will need to update their Universal Credit journal of the increase.

If you are a telephone claimant, you need to advise the DWP over the phone. Once informed, the DWP will alter the amount you receive to make sure you have the right amount to pay your rent.

Remember: we can’t update Universal Credit for you – you have to do this yourself.

Please note: no amendments can be made to rent payments before 3 April 2023. If you update universal credit journals/call the DWP before this date, the rent increase can’t be actioned.

If you have any questions, you can contact the Income Management team at incomemanagementteamdl@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk, or by calling 0300 300 8042.

Help with your childcare costs

Did you know that the government can support you with childcare costs? Tax-free childcare gives support to working parents earning up to £100,000 individually. If you are eligible, the government will pay up to 20% of your childcare costs.

Whether you have toddlers or school-age children, you could get support with your childcare payments.

Visit Childcare Choices to find out about the support you could be entitled to.

Give us your feedback

Do you like the news bulletin? What would you like to see included? If you have anything you would like to see on these bulletins, email housinginfo@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk and let us know.