Tenants urged to cash in on advice
Published by Roisin Rowley-Smith for Riverside in Communities and also in Bill Payments, Housing
National social landlord, Riverside, is employing money advisors based in many of its local offices, in a bid to lessen the impact of the government’s benefit cuts.
Advisors are helping people budget better and claim benefits they may be unaware of, as well as referring them to credit unions or debt specialists. The tailor made service is for those in rent arrears, or tenants who are worried about how to make their money go further.
Money advisors are now based in Merseyside, Carlisle, Gateshead, Hull, the Midlands and the South East.
Laura Bostock is Riverside’s financial inclusion manager, she said: “Many of our tenants are feeling the pinch and we are keen to make sure that they don’t descend into further debt. And it’s not just those on benefits that are struggling. Lots of working people are finding it hard to make ends meet, due to job hours being cut and escalating day to day expenses.”
Riverside’s locally based money advisors complement its central team working from the Merseyside call centre, targeting those in rent arrears to offer benefits and financial advice.
Laura added: “It’s not always possible to speak to people on the phone, so our locally based advisors are visiting those who are in danger of slipping through the net.”
Riverside is also contacting people who may find their benefits cut as a result of the government’s bedroom tax. From April next year, many tenants will be faced with a reduction in income if they are deemed to have a spare bedroom.
“The initial response from tenants shows that two thirds of them who may be affected by the bedroom tax do not want to move to a smaller property, particularly those who have family ties and support networks close by,” said Laura. “Half of them will have difficulty paying their rent. Our advisors will be helping them find ways to maximise their income.”