First year success of Govan Housing Association’s Financial Inclusion Team
A Financial Inclusion Team formed by Govan Housing Association to assist its tenants and the wider community with all matters relating to money and welfare benefit advice is celebrating a successful first year.
Within the first 12 months, the enhanced service has generated just over £1.2 million in a variety of ways to help mitigate the effects of welfare reforms, including the implementation of Universal Credit full service.
The Financial Inclusion Team is qualified in both welfare rights and money and debt advice, ensuring that tenants receive a holistic service from any member of staff within the team.
During the first year, Govan Housing Association facilitated a Universal Credit event in partnership with all local RSL’s and other organisations including the DWP. This event allowed members of the community to visit on a drop-in basis and speak to staff members from various organisations to receive one to one advice in relation to Universal Credit.
The team also produced ‘A Tenant’s Guide to Universal Credit’ book which was proven to be very useful during the roll out of full service in Govan.
The Financial Inclusion Team offers a financial health check for every new tenant. It also has a number of projects which have been established in this first year including a Furniture Initiative offering starter packs, good start packs, carpets and furniture packages. To help tackle fuel poverty, it has also launched an Emergency Energy Fund for tenants, especially with the introduction of Universal Credit, to ensure that they receive a fuel top up when in a crisis situation. The team also provides emergency food packs along with the South East Food bank vouchers.
Various Govan Housing Association departments including community inclusion, housing management and the Govan Home Team, have launched its first Govan Reuse Project. This has quickly become successful in ways of alleviating poverty with reused and new goods to sustain tenancies. It is hoped this will be expanded with the Community Inclusion Team to include volunteering opportunities. The team have generated grants for tenants in excess of £73, 457.53.
This year, the Financial Inclusion Team is also working towards the SNSIAP National Standards accreditation model and it is due to be peer reviewed and audited from August 2019.
Marina McCall, financial inclusion manager of Govan Housing Association, said: “This is a major achievement for the team in our first year and shows the vital work being carried out to offer financial helps and support to our residents. These results demonstrate the volume of work being carried out in relation to improving tenancy sustainment and ensuring that our residents receive all that they are entitled to, whilst improving the people of Govan’s financial capabilities.
“The development of the team in the first year has been extraordinary and will continue to grow and deliver a great service for our residents and local community.”
Fiona McTaggart, chief executive of Govan Housing Association, added: “We are very proud of the Financial Inclusion service and the achievements within the first year. The wider support we are now providing to local residents is remarkable. This vital work makes a resounding difference to the people of Govan and this is yet another example of some of the great work that Housing Associations carry out to enhance and support people’s lives, that is fundamental to making a difference.”