PEOPLE in Dumbarton and the Vale at risk of eviction after falling behind with their rent are to receive help from the council.

In the first hybrid West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) meeting last week it was confirmed the local authority will be receiving £277,000 to help tenants who are at risk of eviction as a result of the pandemic.

The cash will help tenants in the private and social rented sectors who have fallen into rent arrears as a direct result of Covid.

West Dunbartonshire’s share of the fund from the Scottish Government is part of a package of measures aimed at preventing homelessness, alongside Discretionary Housing Payments and advice on maximising income, and add to the government’s £10m Tenant Hardship Loan Fund.

At a full council meeting last week, Community Party councillor Jim Bollan asked officers: “During the pandemic properties increased in a lot of our communities. I did notice the Scottish Government are providing additional resources which I think is welcome. Have we got any information on that?

“There will be a lot of tenants in rent arrears through no fault of their own who will be worried on top of other issues. I think we need to get on the case as soon as we can.”

There is no application process for a tenant or landlord to use for the grant funding.

Instead local authorities will use their discretion to determine whether a grant payment is appropriate in individual circumstances.

In response to the question Peter Barry, chief officer of housing and employment, said: “It is helpful additional funding and we want to get it out as quickly as possible.

“We have demonstrated over the past 18 months that any additional funding we received to help with these welfare issues have been moved onto households and communities as quickly as possible.

“We are going to assess people on the basis of rent arrears and welfare financial consideration. In every case we include an effort to maximise people’s income and to provide other benefits and support.

“I would give the council reassurance that this element of the funding will be moved on quickly to households that need it.”

The background report does not include a specified date on when the Tenant Funding will be available to household.

Chief executive Joyce White confirmed a further update will be made available at the next full council meeting, to be held at the end of this month.