The Resettlement Passport was ‘Highly Commended’ at the UK Housing Awards last night, in the category of ‘Innovation of the Year.’ Hannah McCowen and Marie Hardman attended the prestigious awards at the Plaza Hotel in London, after the Resettlement Passport was shortlisted.
The Resettlement Passport is a tenancy skills course that was born out of Local Solutions’ work with homeless young people in their Supported Lodgings services. Following an investment from One Ark, an online version of the course was created and the course is now being used by 25 organisations nationally to support vulnerable people to gain the skills to sustain a tenancy. These include housing associations, leaving care teams and services supporting the homeless; people with mental health and substance misuse issues and people leaving prison.
“We are absolutely delighted that the Resettlement Passport has been recognised in this way - it’s a real celebration of our journey from this being an idea to the resource being used around the country. Feedback from professionals using the course and service users completing the course is excellent, and we’re looking forward to getting this highly practical resource out to more vulnerable people in the next few months.”
Hannah McCowen, Resettlement Passport Co-ordinator
8 Housing associations are already using the course. Emma Benney, Voids and Lettings Officer at Bracknell Forest Homes explains why they decided to pilot the course:
“We started using the Resettlement Passport with the aim of providing new tenants with the skills they need to successfully sustain a tenancy and reduce arrears levels and minimise risk of future tenancy failure. We wanted our tenants to increase their social capital, linking them with local organisation and services and ensuring they understood their responsibilities as tenants and knew who to contact.”
The Resettlement Passport has particular relevance in the current climate where welfare reform, the increased cost of living and cuts to support services are placing vulnerable people at greater risk of falling into rent arrears and losing their tenancies. Recent figures show that 73% of housing association tenants on Universal Credit are in rent arrears compared to just 29% of other housing association tenants. As Universal Credit rolls out, there’s a well recognised need to take preventative action to protect the most vulnerable tenants.