The landlord and tenant relationship is as important within supported housing as in any type of accommodation. United Welsh’s Support Services team has been working with Dimensions and Cartrefi Cymru, two of its support providers, to pilot a scheme offering genuine choice and control to its assured tenants with learning difficulties which has proved such a success that it has been rolled out to all its tenants in supported living.
United Welsh is working to make the relationship it has with its assured tenants in supported living as similar as possible to that which exists in general needs housing. We wanted to empower our Assured tenants with the choice of how they pay their rent, a choice that tenants not in receipt of support have always had. Cartrefi Cymru and Dimensions volunteered to take part, each identifying two properties where tenants would undergo the pilot
Dimensions is a not-for-profit organisation which supports about 3,000 people with learning disabilities and autism across England and Wales. Cartrefi Cymru is a not-for-profit organisation supporting people in Wales with disabilities, autism and challenging behaviour. Both organisations recognised the benefits of the pilot for their service users.
Tenants were visited at their home and asked how they would like to pay their rent; via standing order, by telephone, on line, by having a rent card and paying cash at the Post Office or any shop showing the Pay Point sign or having their Housing Benefit paid directly to United Welsh.
Pictures were used by staff to explain the various methods of payments available and tenants were empowered to select their preferred method. Once this had happened the tenants had their photo taken with a large picture of their chosen method for use in future communications regarding rent.
Prior to the end of the six month period, United Welsh revisited the tenants who had taken part to review how they were getting on. Everyone involved had adjusted well to their chosen way of paying rent.
When Matthew was originally consulted, he said that paying by Standing Order was the best way to pay his rent because once it was set up he could just forget about it. He was supported to go to the bank and set up a Standing Order and his rent is paid every four weeks after his Housing Benefit goes into his account.
Joan is well known in her community, she works and shops locally and it became clear from the start of the consultation process that she was going to pay her rent with a rent card at the Post Office a method which suits her lifestyle and she enjoys.
Lynda Sagona, Director of Housing and Communities at United Welsh said; “Equality is a core value for the Association and this project is ensuring that we give the same choices to our Assured tenants in Supported Housing that we do to other tenants. It empowers them to interact with our organisation – the results have been such a success it is pleasing to be rolling this out.”
After bringing news of her standing last year, we are pleased to announce that Chris Rutson, Head of Support Services has been elected South East Regional representative on the CHC National Council, and also re-elected to the Board of Cymorth.
She said; “After having served on the CHC National Council for three years as Chair of the CHC Support Services Forum, I am delighted to be able to continue in my new role to support CHC and the invaluable work it does in advocating for housing and vulnerable people. I am also looking forward to serving on the Cymorth Board while we negotiate our way through the changed environment following the SP review.”