New tenancy sustainment framework launched by Home Group Scotland

New tenancy sustainment framework launched by Home Group Scotland

Paul Smith

Home Group Scotland has launched a new guide for housing managers to understand more about new or existing customers to ensure they have the right support to manage their tenancy

The Tenancy Sustainment Framework has been designed by the team at Home Group as a tool to help support customers and identify any risks and challenges to managing their tenancy.

For many customers, getting the keys to a new home is not the end of their story. We know that many of our customers face their own personal issues, or changes in circumstances meaning keeping their home is sometimes not easy.

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.

“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.”

One former homeless customer is Paul Smith from Dundee who believes this new initiative will help a lot of people.

He said: “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. I personally suffer from mental health issues and I know others who do too. A check in or nod from a housing manager now and again would help.”

Paul added: “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.

“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.”

This new framework is the latest initiative from Home Group Scotland to better support customers. In March last year, the company recruited financial inclusion partners who have the sole aim of helping customers with their finances. These partners have more access and knowledge about funds and grants that customers may not know they’re entitled to. They can help customers apply for these grants and even defer rent payments, make life a bit easier and, ultimately, increase customer’s income and make meeting their rent payment obligations. With the help of the financial inclusion partners, Home Group was able to help customers receive free laptops for home schooling earlier this year through the SCVO Connecting Scotland project.

Karen Wolstencroft, head of service delivery, said: “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the team at Home Group Scotland made it their mission to ensure that every customer felt supported. By talking to everyone on a regular basis, we managed to identify customers who were struggling and helped them come up with a solution. This new framework carries on that mission and will enable us to build even stronger relationships with our customers so they can turn to us when they need support. We will do everything we can to support them to manage their tenancy well.”

Home Group Scotland works closely with organisations such as Shelter, Woman’s Aid, Positive Steps and Turning Point when housing new customers. The new framework will ensure that all customers are evaluated, and housing managers will have regular check-ins to identify any issues before they escalate.

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