The current economic climate is exacerbating the financial stress faced by financially vulnerable residents in the social housing sector. It is also creating challenges for the social housing providers who are owed an estimated £350 million in unpaid rent. The worsening situation for residents will have a knock-on effect for landlords as rent arrears and costs associated with rising numbers of court and evictions actions grow.
It is therefore crucial to identify effective interventions that help residents to manage their finances relieving the strain on both themselves and their landlords. With the support of the Friends Provident Foundation, a consortium of the UK’s leading social landlords commissioned the Financial Inclusion Centre (FIC) to evaluate the effectiveness of providing access to debt advice to residents and to establish whether there is a business case for improving direct access to debt advice.
The report concludes that provision of debt advice by the Housing Associations is a win-win solution and far more effective than simply pointing residents in the direction of debt advice. There is also clearly a business case as residents arrears could fall by around 37% over the 12 months after referral to debt advice. The report also finds that for every £100 invested in debt advice interventions there is a commercial gain of £122 through reduced arrears and associated costs.
The full report and a summary can be viewed here:
Does Debt Advice Pay? A Business Case for Social Landlords. Full Report
Does Debt Advice Pay? A Business Case for Social Landlords. Summary Report