Tailored support to prevent young people losing their homes

One of the UK’s leading housing associations has launched a national tailored support service to help troubled young people avoid losing their homes.

As part of its ongoing commitment to help its customers lead resilient lives, Riverside piloted Intensive Intervention in Cumbria last year. Eight months on, all households at risk of losing their home at the start of the pilot are secure in their homes. In addition, the service has reduced rent arrears in the area by over £6,000 to date.

Following the success of the pilot, Riverside – which manages 55,000 homes from Irvine to Ipswich – is now rolling out the service across the country.

Funded by Riverside Foundation, the project is designed to help tenants aged 16 to 30 remain in their homes. Riverside launched the scheme in response to research which reveals that this age group is most likely to struggle to maintain their tenancies.

In the past year, a quarter of the tenancies that ended were from 16-30 year-olds, compared to one in five three years ago.

While abandonment, prison custody or family issues are among the most common reasons for a tenancy ending, the advent of welfare reform has also contributed to the increase.

Sian Martin-Baez, Riverside’s Community Engagement Project Manager, said:

“In the wake of the financial crisis, welfare reforms and cuts to local government funding, we’re having to come up with ever more innovative ways to support our tenants.

“We’ve already introduced money advisors help residents maximise their income, employment and training officers to help overcome barriers to work and affordable warmth officers to help tackle fuel poverty.

“This additional service will provide a more focused experience to those most at risk of losing their home including ex-offenders, people experiencing mental health problems and victims of domestic violence.”

They will work on a one-to-one basis with the individual or family to identify their specific needs and provide the appropriate support to break down barriers caused by age, disability, illness or circumstance. This could range from supporting somebody suffering from hate crime to report it to the police to helping parents of anti-social behaviour perpetrators stabilise their children at school.

The Intensive Intervention Officers will be based in Riverside’s divisional offices in Carlisle, Liverpool, Wirral, Gateshead and Leicester but will cover the North West, North East, Midlands and South East.