Helena Hosts Welfare Reform Conference
Published by Ashley M for Helena Partnerships in Central Government and also in Communities, Housing
Helena tenant Gill Derbyshire tells local businesses her concerns about welfare reform.
More than 30 housing, health and employment organisations from across the North West have gathered to discuss welfare reform at a conference organised by housing association Helena Partnerships.
Over 70 people attended the event in St Helens last week, including representatives from six local housing associations, the NHS, Jobcentre Plus and St Helens Citizens Advice Bureau.
Through a series of talks and interactive workshops, Helena aimed to help local businesses better understand the wider impact of welfare reform in the North West and provide a platform for sharing best practice and forging new partnerships to address the implications of the changes.
Long-standing Helena tenant, Gill Derbyshire, was a key speaker at the conference. She said: “I wanted to stand up on behalf of my local community to make businesses realise that the changes are going to affect real people with real lives.
“I’ve been impressed with Helena’s proactive approach so far and will keep showing them my support as communities across St Helens prepare for the benefit changes to come into effect.”
Helena currently has over 600 tenants who will have their housing benefit reduced as a result of over-occupying by two rooms and more than 2,300 who are over-occupying by one room. The introduction of Universal Credit will affect a further 3,000 Helena tenants and the organisation is keen to team up with local partners to provide a robust range of advice and support.
Liz Haworth, Executive Director Business Transformation at Helena, said: “The challenges presented by welfare reform are some of the biggest that housing providers and their tenants have ever faced.
"The impact on our communities will spread far beyond housing so it’s vital that we work together with other local organisations to tackle the issues head on.
“The large turnout from a variety of sectors at our event was very encouraging and we’ll be supporting our tenants by building on those relationships in the coming months.”
To find out more about Helena Partnerships, visit www.helenapartnerships.co.uk.