Wealden District Council
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Wealden District Council’s Summary Vulnerable Tenants and Leaseholders Housing and Support Strategy 2019-2023

What do we mean by vulnerable tenants and leaseholders?

For the purposes of this Strategy “vulnerable” is defined as:

“A tenant or leaseholder (excluding Wealden Independent Living Scheme tenants) who is aged eighteen years of age or over, and who is or may be by reason of financial problems or other circumstances, mental or physical disability, drug and/or alcohol abuse unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against harm or exploitation or is at risk of losing his or her tenancy.”

The above definition sets out that our tenants may be vulnerable due to five reasons:

1) Physical Health

2) Mental Health 

3) Drug & Alcohol abuse

4) Financial problems (including financial exclusion)

5) Circumstances can include being vulnerability due to Anti-social behaviour or domestic violence or being a care leaver.

Who is the strategy for?

The strategy is for both tenants (Council and A2 Dominion) and Retirement Living leaseholders.

The ultimate purpose of this strategy is to ensure tenants and retirement living leaseholders are supported to sustain their tenancy. The impact of this will undoubtedly lead to cost savings for Wealden’s Housing Service in terms of dealing with tenancy enforcement, evictions, rents arrears etc.

We will do this by ensuring that we meet our three priorities in the following ways set out below:

Priority 1: There is a consistent approach to supporting vulnerable tenants and settling them into their new home.

We will meet this objective through:

  • Using standardised forms at sign-up and the 6 week visit
  • Moving to electronic sign-ups via IPads
  • Ensuring housing officers and Retirement Living Court Managers have access to standardised referral forms
  • Ensuring the recording of vulnerability is standardised and recorded on Orchard and regularly monitored
  • Funding a Tenancy Support Officer within the Housing Service
  • Continuing to fund aids and adaptations for council tenants’
  • Ensuring adapted properties are re-let to people needing adaptions
  • Providing online training to housing applicants to help them manage and sustain their future tenancy
  • Supporting and promoting money management courses offered by partners including those run via Street Learning
Priority 2: Housing staff use every opportunity to identify vulnerable tenants and leaseholders.
We will meet this objective through:
  • As part of the sign-up carrying out a pre-tenancy assessments
  • Ensuring all housing officers and other front line staff have generic training on identifying vulnerability
  • Ensuring all housing staff complete training on identifying vulnerable adults
  • Ensuring all housing staff receive training on equality and diversity
  • Providing other appropriate and timely training for housing staff e.g. on new legislation
  • Attending and being active partners in local partnership meetings such as Joint Action Group and Multiple Agency Risk Assessment Conference
  • Funding a Housing Solutions Worker to ensure residents have assistance/support to access appropriate long term housing solutions
  • Exploring the provision of providing council accommodation to meet the needs of complex homeless households known as “Housing First”
Priority 3: Vulnerable tenants and leaseholders are sign-posted/referred to appropriate support services.
We will meet this objective through:
  • Maintaining access to an up to date Support Directory, ensuring the Support Directory is online for staff and tenants/leaseholders to access
  • Reviewing our Antisocial Behaviour policy and procedure every 3 years
  • Seeking to maintain levels of funding to Wealden Citizens Advice to ensure that they are able to deliver a money advice service to tenants and leaseholders
  • Continuing to run a Sanctuary scheme to provide safety measures for those experiencing domestic violence
  • Working with East Sussex County Council to ensure we continue to have a refuge in the district
  • Funding the £10 set up cost of basic accounts through the East Sussex Credit Union (ESCU)for tenants and leaseholders unable to fund this themselves
  • Working with ESCU to promote their services i.e. affordable savings accounts, loans and basic accounts
  • Exploring the option of providing more intensive housing management to clients where other services are not available
  • Encouraging vulnerable tenants living in general needs accommodation to use the council’s telecare provider for alarm and other services
  • Exploring the use of new technology i.e. telecare and telehealth services
  • Providing online training to help tenants and leaseholders manage and sustain their tenancy
  • Supporting and promoting money management courses offered by partners including those run via Street Learning