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WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK PREVENTING EVICTIONS AND ABANDONMENT DEVELOPING A NEW APPROACH.

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Presentation on theme: "WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK PREVENTING EVICTIONS AND ABANDONMENT DEVELOPING A NEW APPROACH."— Presentation transcript:

1 PREVENTING EVICTIONS AND ABANDONMENT DEVELOPING A NEW APPROACH

2 INTRODUCTIONS Your name Your role What you want from the session

3 GROUND RULES Allow all to have their say All contribute expertise, problems and solutions Stick to timetable Any others?

4 HOMELESS LINK AND EVICTIONS AND ABANDONMENT Three year project to reduce evictions and abandonment from supported accommodation Year one: research into levels, causes and good practice Year two: trialling solutions in 5 areas – reductions of thirds Year three: change programme

5 FORMAT OF THE DAY Good practice based Thinking about your practice Generating ideas to try PowerPoint, groups, pairs, template tools Content of today’s session

6 WHAT I WON’T DO Suggest it is easy! Criticise Tell you what to do

7 OVERALL MESSAGE Key focus: preventing evictions and abandonment is not necessarily about being more tolerant, but about being more proactive to prevent incidents occurring, recognising people at risk, and having appropriate means to respond. “Someone is going to have to contain it… The solution is never that they leave to go on the street. Do we want to continue that cycle?” Hostel manager “If you give up on someone they just do it again and again and again until no hostel will take them.” Client

8 GOOD PRACTICE: USING WARNINGS

9 WARNINGS… …what are they for?

10 WARNINGS Risks/problems with warnings Overused Meaningless – just a piece of paper Issued to restore authority/peace

11 WARNINGS “A warning is an opportunity to support a change in behaviour that is putting a client’s licence at risk” Why is this definition important? Tells us when to issue warnings: 1.When you would evict if behaviour repeated 2.Once client and staff have had chance to calm down

12 GOOD PRACTICE IN ISSUING WARNINGS… THE HOW Who? Decisions not taken by one person alone. Staff should be empowered to make decisions – collective responsibility. Format? Be clear about the issue/ need for the warning. Steps needed to prevent future issues – client and staff. Signing? Asking the client to sign it gets more ownership and understanding.

13 GOOD PRACTICE IN ISSUING WARNINGS… THE HOW Length? Maximum 28 days (can be reviewed) Review? Review allows formal recognition of achievements Recognition allows opportunity to discuss maintenance more constructively Appeals? Clients should be entitled to appeal any warning Appeal should involve someone different to person issuing warning

14 GOOD PRACTICE IN ISSUING WARNINGS… THE HOW Your turn! In pairs Use template Consider real example

15 … and review! Back in pairs Use template GOOD PRACTICE IN ISSUING WARNINGS… THE HOW

16 GOOD PRACTICE: USING ALTERNATIVES TO WARNINGS

17 ALTERNATIVE RESPONSES When? Alternative approaches should be used where behaviour needs a consequence or response but doesn’t meet criteria for a warning What kinds of alternatives? Support Multi-agency work Withdrawal of privileges Criminal sanctions Sideways moves

18 ALTERNATIVE RESPONSES When should you use each response? Not that easy! - will only work if they are personalised Appropriate to the ‘incident’ Should be balanced with support Difficulties Balance managing risk with the needs of the individual Personalised responses can be viewed as unfair

19 ALTERNATIVE RESPONSES Deciding on an appropriate response Why is the behaviour unacceptable? Can discussion or support resolve the issue? Is the behaviour criminal? Is there a continued threat? What are the risks? What might motivate that individual to change?

20 ALTERNATIVE RESPONSES What might work? What motivates your clients? What do they care about?

21 ALTERNATIVE RESPONSES Have a go! Small groups Use scenario or your own example Work through alternative response checklist template

22 GOOD PRACTICE: POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT AND SUPPORTIVE SANCTIONS

23 POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT AND SUPPORT Key underlying principle of effective sanctions is to ensure they are balanced with support Need to shift power: key worker should support not punish Does practice and language make this difficult? Sometimes subtle changes can make a big difference

24 GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLES: POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT Support intervention process v. warnings Expectations/rights and responsibilities v. rules Customer charters Don’t say ‘no’ Move-on never eviction Rewards for positive behaviour (credit schemes, room moves, trips, choices about key-work times/locations etc) “One positive” items at team meetings

25 POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT AND SUPPORT What could you do? In small groups Identify ideas for changes you could make

26 GOOD PRACTICE: PREVENTING AND MANAGING ARREARS

27 PREVENTING AND MANAGING ARREARS Can’t pay (financial reasons) HB issues (delays, errors etc) Other debts Service charge levels Can’t pay (other reasons) Too chaotic Won’t pay Want money for other things Think they shouldn’t have to CAN’T VERSUS WON’T

28 GOOD PRACTICE: PREVENTING AND MANAGING ARREARS The approach Must be assertive and consistent from outset Clients are responsible for their rent Managing finances is viewed as a support need The practice Don’t penalise clients for HB mistakes Use rent agreements to set manageable repayment plans and reward adhering to this rather than focussing on amount Have processes that enable clients to see increasing seriousness and impact of not paying Reminders on pay day and support to attend appointments

29 PREVENTING AND MANAGING ARREARS: CASE STUDY Service developed a new arrears process to help reduce abandonment – saw 76% reduction over a year A 3-month process beginning with a letter and discussion with the key- worker when a problem first arises. If no action is taken to address the arrears: 1.3-way meeting with key-worker and line manager (support) 2.Case conference that includes the referrer and manager 3.Complex case meeting with move-on team, referrer and 4.NTQ issued – rescinded if client pays 5.Letter issued - room will be kept for a further 7 days and if an agreed sum is paid within this period then they may return

30 GOOD PRACTICE: PREVENTING AND MANAGING ARREARS Service charges Be clear what they are for Listen to ideas for improvements from residents Keep as low as possible e.g. use meters, have self-catering, source cheaper food, make meals optional. Be flexible about how to pay: o Direct deductions o Cash o Credit unions o Meters o Holding money

31 GOOD PRACTICE: PREVENTING AND MANAGING ARREARS Financial inclusion More than just paying rent Maximise income Run workshops and individual budgeting work Help to sort out debts Making paying worth it! Link payment to move-on Link to rewards/incentives Make the service a place they want to be

32 GOOD PRACTICE: PREVENTING AND MANAGING ARREARS Support staff too Clarity why it is a support need Welfare benefits knowledge Financial inclusion Debt management

33 GOOD PRACTICE: PREVENTING AND MANAGING ARREARS Clients entering employment – need to be creative Use better-off calculations Ensure residents access benefits they are entitled to Support staff and clients to recognise the benefits of employment beyond simply financial Support with budgeting and expectations when move on Keep in regular contact with Housing Benefit

34 PREVENTING AND MANAGING ARREARS What could work here? In small groups Why do people not pay here? Think: can’t v won’t What things have worked for individuals in the past Identify ideas for possible solutions to try

35 GOOD PRACTICE: ENGAGING CLIENTS

36 ENGAGEMENT Why do clients not engage? In groups List reasons Feedback

37 GOOD PRACTICE IN ENGAGING CLIENTS Engaging clients is about promoting positive engagement, not punishing non-engagement “Staff should expect their clients to be unreliable” Client Engagement from the outset At interview – expectations/rights and responsibilities not rules Regular initial contact – information giving, support plan Developing relationship through formal and informal interaction

38 GOOD PRACTICE IN ENGAGING CLIENTS Be clear what engagement is Ongoing formal engagement (key work) Choices – worker, location, times, flexibility Link increased choice to incentives Use motivational and aspirational key work tools Ongoing informal engagement Most effective way to form genuine relationships Activities (within service or outside) Spending time in communal areas Open door policies ‘Connect’ sessions at night

39 GOOD PRACTICE IN ENGAGING CLIENTS Create the right environment Remove physical barriers Consider other barriers such as opening hours Incentivise rather than sanction Make it appealing to engage! Work together as a staff team Recognise the role of all staff (e.g. cleaners, cooks, reception)

40 GOOD PRACTICE IN ENGAGING CLIENTS Other effective tools Complaints and suggestions Client involvement Customer charters Review rules Be mindful of abandonment e.g. buddying, no letters Recruitment and performance management

41 ENGAGEMENT What could work here? Back in groups Go back to barriers Identify ideas to try

42 GOOD PRACTICE: REDUCING ABANDONMENT

43 REDUCING ABANDONMENT Why do people abandon?

44 GOOD PRACTICE: REDUCING ABANDONMENT Is abandonment preventable? YES! Need to identify common warning signs

45 ABANDONMENT: COMMON WARNING SIGNS Common warning signs that clients are at risk of abandonment include: Not engaging with the support on offer Spending a lot of time outside the hostel Mounting arrears Unhappy with the environment No social networks in the area Entrenched rough sleeper Never lived in a similar environment At risk of offending

46 GOOD PRACTICE: REDUCING ABANDONMENT Adopt a whole team approach Have extra support in the first few weeks (see case study) Ensure you have opportunities for informal interaction Link engagement with rewards Ensure all communication about arrears is supportive Make it a place clients want to stay

47 CASE STUDY: ENCOURAGING A LONG-TERM ROUGH SLEEPER TO STAY IN Tim had a long history of refusing accommodation The hostel and outreach encouraged him to start using the dining room (for meals and social events, to get used to the place and get to know staff and residents) Occasionally he slept in the dining room, then a bedroom (empty at first as he did not want to feel a burden) Gradually furnishings were introduced Now has a permanent room and tenancy agreement The key was putting no pressure on him and being flexible!

48 REDUCING ABANDONMENT In groups What warning signs have you seen? What are possible solutions to try when these are seen?

49 ALMOST THERE! Review ideas – how will you take these forward? Review expectations from start of the session Evaluation Thank you!


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