BUILDING BLOCKS FOR BETTER COMMUNITIES
WinnerChampioning Financial Inclusion
Multiple money matters: Stockport Homes proves a varied approach is a successful approach
THE NEED Stockport Homes has established a range of successful financial inclusion projects to support people: • To access accommodation in the private rented sector • Who are homeless and have no means of securing a deposit for private rented housing • Who are taking on a tenancy for the first time • Who are at risk of losing their property due to eviction or of having their property re-possessed • To reduce their energy bills and their fuel debt • Who have multiple debt issues • To access benefits they are entitled to.
THE SOLUTION Stockport Homes’ financial inclusion projects, which are funded partly by the collection of water charges since 2009, have five main areas of focus: 1) Welfare reform To ensure customers are prepared for welfare reform, Stockport Homes aims to equip them with the information they need to know. As part of this, staff visited residents to discuss the personal impact of underoccupation and to set up individual action plans with options like budgeting and money advice, property downsizing or swapping and employment support.
2) Helping tenants to pay their rent Stockport Homes has worked with customers to help them decide whether using direct debits is a realistic option and has developed a partnership with the Co-operative Bank to help customers to access bank accounts where suitable. 3) Money advice and skills The ALMO has employed additional staff to provide money advice. This has led to a pilot of money support classes which have been extended into 2013 and specific work with young people to develop their money skills, including creating a film about young people and debt and delivering life skills training in schools. 4) Employment support Stockport Homes has developed a range of employment schemes to help customers get ‘job-ready’ and gain employment. 5) Digital inclusion A programme of digital inclusion projects covers partnerships with a local social enterprise to deliver IT training to customers and with the council to create local community access IT hubs.
THE RESULTS The five main strands of activity have led to many positive outcomes. For example: • Staff visited 1,404 tenants affected by under-occupation, 501 of which now have individual action plans • Customers paying their rent by direct debit has increased from 32 per cent in April 2012
to 41 per cent in June 2013 • An employment and volunteering project has supported 59 people into jobs and generated 2,000 hours of volunteering in 2012-13 • A repairs project has provided employment to 18 priority prolific offenders over three years and over 75 per cent of these have secured employment at the end of the scheme. A spokesperson said: “Our entrepreneurial approach...has meant we can lever in commercial funding and income from outside the housing sector to deliver projects to specifically support the most excluded and vulnerable.”
“Good over-arching approach to tackling financial inclusion, with partnership working and tangible evidence of success in a number of areas.” KEY LEARNINGS • Communities managed by ALMOs are complex, with tenants coming from a wide range of backgrounds and circumstances. There is no quick fix and no single way of working. Stockport Homes’ initiative has multiple strands and multiple areas of focus, with enough funding and time dedicated to each one.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS PROJECT Tracy Sweeting, business support officer • T: 0161 474 2637 E: email@example.com
Published on Sep 26, 2013
Published on Sep 26, 2013
This is the NFA Best Practice Guide 2013, produced annually by Acceleris on behalf of the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA), the trade body...