Paradigm Housing Project Statistics

Posted on the 30th May 2017


Citizens Advice Welwyn Hatfield is funded by Paradigm Foundation to provide an advice service to Paradigm Housing Group residents, aimed at reducing rent arrears and helping residents to manage their finances. Referrals are made to a dedicated caseworker, Simon Ward, by Paradigm Housing staff or by residents contacting the service independently.

For each tenant referred we provide advice to help maximise income, minimise expenditure and understand the difference between priority and non-priority debts. The caseworker helps the resident to balance their finances and agree repayment plans or debt reduction with creditors. We also assist residents with applying for charitable grants and reducing fuel poverty. We fully involve residents in the process so that they know how to deal with financial problems in the future.

Whilst the service focuses on money advice it isn’t limited to this as helping in the early stages with other problems can prevent arrears and homelessness occurring in the first place. In the last quarter, we saw a high level of engagement with residents returning for further help, including support with new benefit claims, employment grievances, relationship breakdown, consumer matters and food vouchers. This in itself is a positive outcome as clients know where to get advice as soon as problems occur, rather than waiting for a crisis to happen.


Case study 1

The client was referred to the project adviser by her Supported Housing Officer (SHO) who was looking for help to negotiate with her previous housing association about her former tenancy arrears.

The arrears came about when the client felt forced to flee the tenancy for her own safety after being tormented and assaulted in her home by neighbours. This was traumatic for the client and had a serious impact on her mental health. The threats continued and it became unbearable for her to stay, so she fled from the tenancy without any alternative accommodation to stay in. Unfortunately, in her troubled state, she failed to end the tenancy correctly and therefore owed rent for the period after she fled.

The adviser wrote a letter to the housing association explaining the circumstances and appealing to their discretion to reduce the amount owed, particularly considering that the client’s health was preventing her from taking on full-time work which would mean it would take years to repay the debt. The housing association responded, agreeing to write off half of the amount owed, and agreed an affordable plan with the client to repay the remaining amount.

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