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Additional £1m secured for tenants thanks to housing association’s welfare team

Grwp Cynefin’s welfare team has secured its tenants an additional £1m of household income as well as the reassuring support of avoiding possible evictions over a 12-month period. Their Social Return on Investment report highlighted a return of £14 for every £1 spent on the service.

Grwp Cynefin’s biggest good news story from 2020

The welfare team uses Policy in Practice’s Better Off Calculator numerous times a day, it is a tool that is very important to our work. It enables us to offer accurate advice and guidance to the tenants we are working with.

The calculator can paint an accurate picture of the household’s expenditure. We use it to show tenant’s their expenditure and how we can change it in order for them to be in a better financial situation.

A number of our tenants are not getting all the extra income they should be. People in work are not claiming what they should as they are working. They’re missing out on a number of supports such as free school meals, Council Tax Reduction, to name a few.

All queries have been dealt with over the phone which has been very effective – people have managed with not being able to see someone face to face. This is not always ideal however we have been able to offer an excellent service by using the phone alone.

We found that people had to take some responsibility for their situation. We could not make a large number of applications for them as we were not able to conduct a home visit, however most of the service users have dealt with this well and have done as we advised. All they needed was to be given the information and guidance on how to do something and they have then been able to make the application for themselves. We have empowered our tenants to take control; before Covid-19 we may have done things for them as we may have doubted their ability to do so.

Covid-19 has impacted us all immensely. Some would say that people who were on benefits before have not been impacted but, by using the Better Off Calculator,  it became very apparent to us that this was not the case.

We saw that children were home from school and people were working from home which meant that people had to spend more money on electric or gas and, of course, food. People were not able to travel from a very rural area to get to the bigger, cheaper supermarkets and they had to shop locally due to the travel restriction. One family in a small town was spending more than £100 extra per week on her food shop because of this, which has a very detrimental impact on the household income.

Rhianon Dafydd, Housing Manager, Grwp Cynefin

Having the Better Off Calculator has made a real difference to our Housing and Welfare Officer’s efficiency. It enables us to offer accurate advice and guidance to the tenants who are facing financial challenges. It has been an extremely valuable resource as we’ve embraced the challenges associated with Covid and the unforeseen circumstances our tenants faced at such difficult times in their lives.

Rhianon Dafydd, Housing Manager, Grwp Cynefin

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