Identifying residents who need the most support is a key part of any social landlord’s job. While there are some groups who most understand have more extensive needs, such as elderly tenants, it’s always worth digging deeper into other demographics to see where help is needed elsewhere.
That’s why shortly before the pandemic, we commissioned a report alongside two other housing associations looking at the unique challenges faced by under-30s renting from social landlords.
Not surprisingly, the main issues faced by this demographic are financial: inexperience in managing budgets, unemployment and subsequent debt are the most immediate problems young residents face.
So, A2Dominion decided to overhaul the way we communicate with our under-30 tenants and to recruit a dedicated under-30s tenancy sustainment officer (TSO).
The main aim of recruiting a TSO is to have someone trained in all matters involving financial support, debt, employment opportunities and benefits, and who can relate to the issues younger people are facing.
In June 2020, an independent report from the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust (HACT) highlighted further the levels of support this group needs. It assessed the help provided through the early days of the pandemic, with a particular focus on proactive welfare calls.
As well as contacting the over-70s, we called 192 people under 30 and the difference was stark. A remarkable 67% of our younger customers asked for further support, compared with just 19% of the over-70s. This further demonstrated how many challenges our young residents face.
It is important to continue to build on improvements put in place to best support residents under 30 and give them focused support that can deliver benefits to them. This work is never straightforward, but for any responsible social landlord, it is always worth it.
Dawn Wightman is director of housing at A2Dominion