Informing tenants about changes to benefits
23/03/2012 4:04 pm
What is good practice around telling tenants about changes to welfare benefits, particularly around universal credit? I'm looking for ideas to put forward in a meeting. Thx
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26/03/2012 10:06 am
It should always be normal practice for landlords to keep tenants fully informed about changes that may affect them - welfare benefit reform being one of the biggest issues to date, needs to be communicated in a range of ways to reach the most people affected.
You can publish articles in your tenants' magazine or newsletter; you can write individually to those you know will be affected - running address labels off from the rents system that will filter the tenants who receive benefits; you can hold one or more public meetings around key neighbourhoods affected; you can run a roadshow where you are based in each neighbourhood for a day to discuss welfare benefit issues - you could partner with local benefit experts to offer on the spot advice and support; you could pay into a local benefit support/income maximisation scheme for your tenants to get individual assessments and obtain support; train your mobile staff to provide the right advice and support; and you can use regular communication methods i.e. rent statements to print messages about issues such as welfare reform on the unused space within the document.
I hope this helps, these are just a few ideas, but the important thing is that you contact all the people affected so that they can access the help that they need. Good luck!!
26/03/2012 11:18 am
Text messaging might be useful. You may be able to get a list of your resident's mobile numbers. Use either an online service, or if you have an inhouse text messaging service and send a short message out along the lines of "You might be affected to changes to welfare benefits / housing benefit please contact us or go to our website for more information".
Email could also be useful
It might help get the message out to people who might not come to a meeting or roadshow.
26/03/2012 3:47 pm
I think it's also important to think about your most vulnerable tenants and consider how best to pass over information to these client groups. You dont say if you are working for a local authority or a Registered Provider (HA), but in either case, would it make sense to contact those voluntary and other support organisations you work with and check on their plans for disseminating this information. Also probably useful would be to talk to any resident forums (if you are working for an RP),and discuss with them how they might suggest this info could be best passed on. This would have the advantage of being part of an active tenant engagement programme. The important thing might be to ensure that you have 'covered all the bases' and not inadvertantly left a particular group out. For example those tenants least likely to be listening to the news or reading local newspapers might be better reached through other means such as a community group. Generally speaking it may pay you to put more effort in identifying residents and groups who might be least likely to be picking up on these benefit changes, so,for example, those more vulnerable residents and any groups you think are least likely to pick up on this information from more 'traditional' sources. Talk to agencies already working with people in the categories you think are harder to reach to see what is already being planned, and talk to residents groups to get good feedback on the best way to spread the word on this.
28/03/2012 5:09 pm
Talk to the tenants in language they will understand instead of the forked-tongue corporate-speak that prevails!
01/04/2012 8:34 am
firstly i reckon you need to firstly get yersself a benefit advisor to make sure you know every implication in wich way this affects tenants ,because half imformation is only as good as no imformation at all , and it may not suprise you there are even people out there running H/As that dont know or understand the benefits changes and are relaying incorect information to tenanats , then the best way to get it out there if visit all the tenants forums /panels and give them the imformation then have an open day and imformation ppass on session and arfter that visit or write to the un imformed and ask them if they understand if not arange a place they can meet a speaker and hear about it , but i have to insist on what rick has said ,, a lot of tenants caan only take in words that are spoken in real world english and not the big goobly gook thats normally used, because if you dont understand the words you cant take in the imformation , another bit of knowledge that may help is ,,, we run a tennants forum if we have a meeting we normally have about a 50% attendance rate but if we run a free childs event we seem to get at least 25% more attending adults then you get to speak to and get feed back from them it also helps because they havnt got to find a child sitter to attend the meeting ,,, good luck to you on youre mission
08/04/2012 5:27 pm
if a provider cant supply it shouldnt be called a provider it should be just called a super store and they dont open on easter sundays where as at least theres some tenants and H/a people out there that are willing to help and debate no matter what day