Forty families have found new homes thanks to a series of speed dating for houses events for residents in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
The events - organised by Merlin Housing Society – were a response to the introduction of the Government’s bedroom tax, and aimed to help people find a smaller home rather than lose a portion of their Housing Benefit.
Merlin’s Head of Neighbourhood Services, Barbara Reid said: “People from 115 households attended the events. Since the first one, we’ve seen 40 home swap applications - 80% more than the same period last year. This suggests one in three people who attended met a potential match at these events.
“The figures highlight how successful the events have been, and just how many people are looking to move as a result of changes under the Welfare Reform Act.”
Around 6,500 people living in Bristol and surrounding areas have been affected by the introduction of the bedroom tax.
Merlin organised the events and contacted other housing associations in the area to encourage them to get involved. Residents from Knightstone Housing Association, Sovereign Housing Association and Solon South West attended.
Said Barbara: “Welfare Reform is a reality now. We’re doing everything we can to make sure our customers can sustain their tenancies. For some the only option is to move to a smaller property but they just don’t come up that often. We need to think creatively about how we can help and our speed dating idea was a great response to that need.”
Home swapping, also known as mutual exchange, makes it easier for people to move home. If the properties match their requirements and the landlord agrees, people can simply swap.