For tenants hit hard by the government’s welfare reforms, staying afloat has become increasingly tough, with many treading a precarious line between adjusting to the benefit cap and falling into rent arrears.
Nigel Wicks, a financial inclusion officer for housing association Optivo, helps tenants manage their budgets and access support they might not know is available. He is one of an army of frontline workers employed by housing associations to try to support residents with their financial decision-making.
“It’s about letting people know we aren’t just there to collect rent,” says Wicks. “Housing associations and local authorities are coming to the realisation that we have to invest more into tenant support because it helps to mitigate a lot of the problems that lead to rent arrears and tenants in crisis.”
Optivo’s new tenants are all introduced to the service.
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