Successful scheme to prevent eviction of residents to be extended until 2020

Posted on Thursday 20th December 2018

The Council’s free Housing Early Prevention Service, which has helped more than 180 households from Bournemouth and Poole to avoid eviction, is to be extended for an extra year to March 2020.

The service, which is a shared project between Bournemouth Borough Council and Borough of Poole, provides vital advice and support to households who are renting privately and have been at risk of losing their homes.

The pilot project started in May 2017 and has supported more than 382 households. The service provides help and support to private renters who have fallen in to difficulties and has a 58% success rate of preventing homelessness.  

The service’s team of six dedicated outreach staff work directly with residents to help prioritise their tenancy. This includes working closely with other support services such as the Jobcentre, health, voluntary sector and private sector landlords to achieve positive outcomes for residents.

The service was originally due to end on 31 March 2019. Following the first year of the project, the councils reviewed the performance of the service which included: 

  • Councils avoiding placements of households into bed and breakfast / temporary accommodation.
  • Coordination of support and advice to tenants and landlords.
  • Improving the wellbeing of tenants and their access to a range of services.
  • Increased awareness of the local support available to tenants & landlords.
  • Closer partnership working across the private rented sector

The project was successful in achieving its outcomes and will now continue through to March 2020. The new BCP council will then consider how the service will be delivered in the future.

Councillor Robert Lawton, Cabinet Member for Housing, Bournemouth Borough Council said: “We are delighted with the achievements made through this scheme. We have been successful in helping people in vulnerable situations achieve positive outcomes by remaining in their homes.”

Councillor Karen Rampton, Cabinet Member for Housing, Borough of Poole said: “We’re very pleased that the Housing Early Prevention Service is being extended. It provides vital work in preventing homelessness, which is one of our key priorities as a council.”

Client being threatened with notice by landlord due to arrears was helped by Housing Early Prevention scheme

“Barbara”, aged over 60 with a heart condition and was very vulnerable. She was in and out of hospital – additional stress was not good for her, she was panicking.

There were complications with her benefits, which left her with a reduction of £170 per month. This was building up as income arrears with the landlord.

The Housing Early Prevention outreach worker negotiated with the Jobcentre to escalate the case and supported Barbara in attending her work capability assessment for Universal Credits.

The outreach worker liaised and reassured the landlord so they did not issue an eviction notice. The outreach worker also obtained backdated benefit payments enabling the client to pay off rent arrears. This all resulted in the landlord avoiding costly eviction and loss of rent, and Barbara has stayed in her home.

Barbara said:

“The Jobcentre has contacted me to say that they have agreed they owe me the money and are arranging a payment back to me. Thank you so much for everything. Merry Christmas.”

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