Welsh Government task and finish group published its report today Direct payments of Housing Benefit in the Social Rented Sector and Sustainable Tenancies that looked into how the sector can better support people and to mitigate the impacts of welfare reform. Membership comprised of a broad group of stakeholders from across Wales who deliberated over the matter.
The purpose of the Group was to:
- consider ways in which the sector can identify the capabilities of their tenants to manage direct payment of benefit ie
- identifying those tenants who are capable and require no support
- identifying tenants who can manage their affairs but require support before going onto direct payment
- identifying tenants who unable to manage their affairs and unlikely to go onto direct payments, split payments or change in frequency of payment – ie vulnerable claimants, health, education, drink/drugs etc
- consider and adopt the positive lessons learnt from the direct payment demonstration projects to assist this process
- consider the impacts of the welfare reforms on tenancy sustainability – notably evictions (which may be rising), abandonment, indebtedness, etc
- identify and share good practice to deal with direct payments.
Sonia Benbow Jones, chair of the Welsh Tenants said “the group has come up with a number of proposals to both identify and support tenants. What is clear is that support will be required to help sustain tenancies during what may be difficult times for many. The reports procedural recommendations are balanced and practical and hopefully should be widely supported across the sector”.
Steve Clarke, managing director stated that we will do whatever we can to raise awareness of the importance of a ‘rent first’ approach in the sector, we are always open to work with landlords to raise awareness of the difficulties tenants face and for early intervention and awareness both pre tenancy and pre and post any court action should tenants homes be at risk.
The report can be found by clicking on the link here