Accent warns residents of implications of welfare reforms
Published by Heather Jacklin for Accent Group in Housing
Accent Foundation MD Claire Stone
Housing association Accent Foundation is warning its residents of possible financial hardship as a result of the welfare reforms.
Accent owns and manages 12,500 homes across the north. Around 2,000 of these households will be affected.
The association's main concern, in addition to the launch of Universal Credit in October, is the under-occupancy tax as it is not convinced that residents fully understand the concept of the 'spare bedroom'.
Managing Director Claire Stone said: “When we talked to residents, we realised that some of them didn’t understand they had a ‘spare bedroom’. They thought that if they weren’t using their ‘spare bedroom’ as a bedroom, or it was used when children or other relatives stayed who didn’t live there, or for medical reasons, the cut in housing benefit from under-occupancy wouldn’t affect them.”
Accent is focussed on supporting its residents, but it is also supporting its staff by providing benefit training to make sure they give the best possible service and support to residents they can.
Ms Stone added: “More and more we are seeing our role as not just as a housing association providing good quality homes, but as a welfare and advisory service to our residents. Many of our residents will be affected by the changes, and it is our responsibility to support them in whatever ways we can."
"One of the best way we can do this is to help our residents get out of the welfare system and into employment by enabling them to access training and employment opportunities through our training and skills development programmes.”