INTEREST-free loans are available to help cash-strapped homeowners repair their houses.
Vulnerable and low-income people who own their home can apply for the House Proud Loan, which pays for essential repairs and disability adaptations.
Wakefield Council and the White Rose Credit Union have teamed up to provide the scheme, which has been running since 2004.
Richard Stevens, manager of the credit union, said the scheme could prevent hard-up homeowners falling foul of high-interest doorstep lenders and pay day loans.
He said: “The problem with some of the loans around is people have run out of money half way through the month, so they borrow £250 at a cost of say £40, and then they are £290 short the next month. It’s an ever-increasing cycle.”
Since 2004, around £360,000 has been lent under the House Proud Loans Scheme. Borrowers also benefit from membership of the credit union.
Mr Stevens added: “The sort of things it is used for are new windows and central heating systems.”
Wakefield Council’s cabinet is set to approve changes to the scheme next week to make the loans more accessible to homeowners.
The council said it wanted to make the scheme easier to understand and faster to administer.
Eligibility is set to include people on income-related benefits and households whose income is less than £15,050.
Coun Denise Jeffery, the council’s cabinet member for Regeneration and economic growth, said: “This loan has already helped many people and if the changes to the criteria are approved, will be more accessible to people across the district.
“The new criteria, which includes energy efficiency improvements, will have a positive impact on improving homes across the district and increase fuel efficiency.”
Energy efficiency loans and Christmas loans are also available from the not-for-profit White Rose Credit Union, which has offices on The Springs, Wakefield, and Cross Hill, Hemsworth.
For more information, telephone 01924 305168 or log on to www.whiterosecredit union.co.uk