Hundreds battling to keep their home

Money worries - pic posed by model

Money worries - pic posed by model

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MORE than 200 people were forced to battle to keep their homes over a six-month period last year.

Shocking new figures show that between April and September last year, 211 mortgage claims were heard at Wigan Magistrates’ Court.

And Wigan Council admitted it had successfully provided support to prevent 58 houses being repossessed between April to September 2013, but had not stepped in to save anyone from losing their homes in the same period last year. A spokesman for the council said this may be due to lack of referrals and awareness of help on offer.

The authority has a variety of services to support people who can no longer afford their mortgage, including Housing Options, run by Wigan and Leigh Homes, which negotiates with lenders to agree interest only payments, extend the term of the mortgage and arrange affordable payment plans.

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau can also help suspend possession orders.

Over the next year the council will work on a pilot project with a mortgage lender to encourage earlier referrals instead of mandatory court notifications. It also plans to review advice material and provide businesses that are closing with advice and support for employees.

Peter Layland, Wigan Council’s assistant director for housing, said: “We aim to prevent people losing their homes. For anyone who has fallen into arrears, or is in danger of doing so, there is help available by calling our helpline on 01942 489005. With the right support, steps can be taken so homes are not lost and short-term difficulties can be overcome.”