£1.75m debt savings for struggling tenants
Our free Money Advice Service has helped 1788 tenants across the Midlands save £1.75m in debt savings over a 12 month period as part of a drive to support people struggling with debt.
The service works with over 80 new tenants a month to assess their financial situation and ensure they are able to sustain their tenancy.
The team of seven friendly and experienced advisors look carefully at an individual’s circumstances to offer them the support they need to get back on their feet. This can involve assisting with debt/insolvency issues and unpaid bills, to welfare benefits and everyday budgeting; to carrying out a benefit check-up or sourcing hardship payments for those most in need.
Gary Hardy, director of housing operations at Midland Heart, says: “We speak to people every day who are experiencing serious money worries and feel overwhelmed by what to do next. Last year our team received 1788 referrals and this number continues to rise as we support tenants to deal with the impact of welfare reforms.
“This essential service is providing vital support to people who are experiencing real difficulties, providing the tools, support and advice they need to sustain their tenancies and live independent lives.”
The free, independent, benefit and debt advice service was set up to help support the most excluded individuals such as those without bank accounts. The service has since been expanded to support those affected by welfare reforms such as the bedroom tax, benefit cap and introduction of universal credit.
“The service is great,” says Mrs Ryley, a Midland Heart customer who received help from the team. “I’m dyslexic and suffer greatly with anxiety. Things get on top of me so I find it difficult dealing with debts when letters come through. They contacted the council about my benefits, helped me out and dealt with all of my issues.”
The service is proving to be a success with 99% of the customers we helped last year managing to sustain their tenancy.
Midland Heart now runs one of the largest money and debt advice teams within the Midlands. The team were recognised for their outstanding work helping customers by scooping the title of Best Tenant Support Advice Programme at this year’s Housing Excellence Awards.