Tenancy readyFinancial Literacy/Capability | Poverty
What is the project?
The programme addresses the key elements of how to maintain a successful tenancy by supporting residents to build on their skills, knowledge and confidence whilst addressing any prior issues they may have experienced with past tenancies. The clear aim of the project is to create sustainable tenancies and happy communities.
Who is the project targeted at?
The project is available to anyone living in the Vale of Glamorgan however the main beneficiaries of the project are those considered homeless and living in temporary accommodation, vulnerable individuals referred through supporting people, individuals who have a history of failed tenancies and individuals who have never held a tenancy in the past.
Why did the project come about?
The project was introduced to reduce the number of failed tenancies. It is clear that within the first year many tenancies fail, which can be devastating for the tenants and also leaves Housing Associations with eviction costs which could be prevented by pre-tenancy work.
Common reasons for tenancy failures within the first year are:
• having insufficient independent living skills
• not having enough household furniture and equipment combined with insufficient funds to equip the household
• inexperience and difficulties in learning to budget, which can lead to debt problems and rent arrears
• delays or difficulties in claiming benefits, or managing finances, which can also lead to debt problems and rent arrears.
• feelings of isolation in their new neighbourhood, particularly if a young person lives some distance from friends and family.
• suffering from antisocial behaviour and harassment
• a lack of tenancy support.
The training programme was developed and has been amended year on year with this in mind. It has also been based on guidance provided by Crisis which explains vital tenancy management skills and covers housing options, tenancy agreements, rights and responsibilities, living on a limited budget, maintaining a property, anti-social behaviour, Universal Credit, digital skills, how to deal with issues that may arise, furniture options and help and support available.
How was this project implemented?
The project was rolled out in January 2017
Referrals into the programme are received in a number of different ways. Firstly, the tenancy ready officer receives weekly updates of those signed up to the Homes 4 U application list for housing and contact is made with those seen as high priority; for example those that are; statutory homeless, living in temporary accommodation or those given a gold or gold plus banding.
All Homes 4 U partners can make direct referrals, as can support organisations such as Ty Iolo, Gwalia, Llamau, Pobl (support) and Women’s Aid. The sessions can be run in several different ways and questions are asked at point of referral to find the most suitable delivery method depending on the individuals needs. The training can be delivered as a ‘one to one’ or group session. Depending on risk, ‘one to one’s’ can also take place at the tenant’s properties, and within supported and temporary accommodation such as Llamau supported housing projects or temporary accommodation such as Ty Iolo hostel.
Prior to the participant completing the programme a short pre intervention survey is carried out to ascertain their current knowledge and confidence of maintaining a tenancy. Once the programme has been completed a post intervention survey is completed to ascertain if their knowledge has increased. Follow up surveys are completed at 3 and 6 months to confirm if the participant has moved into permanent accommodation, if they have been housed privately or within a council/housing association accommodation; and if they are maintaining the tenancy successfully.
A list of names are also sent to the Homes 4 U partners to confirm if participants have been housed within their stock. This gives the opportunity for landlords to feed back if there have been any issues, and trigger the reengagement of the tenancy ready officer to attempt to get things back on track and ensure the correct support can be put in place to promote a better chance of the tenancy being sustained.
How was this project funded?
The project is hosted by Newydd housing association with funding via the Homes 4 U partnership. Each of the 5 housing associations pay an equal amount to cover project costs.
Outcomes so far
The project outcomes are from April 2018 – present as the measures were developed in the first year.
• 402 individuals have completed the training
• 257 individuals have been housed and are maintaining their tenancies successfully
• The remaining 145 individuals are a mixture of those who are still waiting for adequate housing, have cancelled their housing application, and a few who were unable to be contacted at follow up. Only 1 tenant ‘gave up’ her tenancy after handing in her notice.
At present we have funding for the project to continue until end of March 2021 but are currently looking for further funding to extend the project.