A new tool, called the Tenancy Sustainment Framework, has been launched by Home Group Scotland to ensure that tenants have the right support throughout their tenancies.
This new guide has been designed to enable housing managers to learn and understand more about new and existing tenants, as well as identify any risks and challenges to managing their tenancies – which becomes vital in particular when keeping a home becomes a struggle in light of personal issues and/or changes in tenant’s circumstances.
Housing Options Advisor, Lynsey Beckett, who helped develop the framework, said: “Making sure customers are properly supported, especially during their first year in a home with us, is something that the team and the Scottish Board feel very passionate about. A lot of times, we’ll house a new customer who is in a stable position, but within a few months that could change. They could lose their job, have family issues or develop health problems. Our aim now is to have these relationships so that we are aware of these issues at the right time so we can help them.”
She added: “We also house a lot of customers who used to be homeless or may never have had the responsibility of managing their own home before. For them, we need to hold their hand through the early stages and make sure they feel supported and stay in their home.”
“World of difference”
Paul Smith from Dundee, one of Home Group Scotland customers who used to be homeless, believes that this new initiative will help a lot of people.
“If you’ve come from a situation like mine, there is a good chance that you’ll need a bit of extra support when moving into a new home,” said Paul and continued: “I personally suffer from mental health issues and I know others who do too. Some people may also have extreme loneliness if they’ve moved into a place where they don’t know anyone. They might even have social anxiety issues and are scared to approach their neighbours as this is common for people who have lived without a home. I really think a regular phone call or visit from a Housing Manager would make the world of difference.
He added: “By identifying an individual’s background from talking to them and even from their application form, it will be easy to see who needs a bit of extra support and after care when moving into a new home. I’m really glad that Home Group are taking this step and hope other housing associations follow suit.”
The Tenancy Sustainment Framework, which is the latest initiative from Home Group Scotland, will ensure that all customers are evaluated and housing managers will have regular check-ins to identify any issues before they escalate.
Last year the organisation recruited financial inclusion partners to help customers with their finances, ultimately increasing their income so that they can meet their rent payment obligations. The financial inclusion partners are knowledgeable about funds and grants, and can help tenants apply for them, as well as defer rent payments if needed. With their help, Home Group customers received free laptops for home schooling earlier this year through the SCVO Connecting Scotland project.