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Working together to prevent homelessness

Kevin Snow19th December 2012

We and Watford Borough Council, together with our housing association partners, are working to help tenants at risk of losing their homes.  On Friday (14 December 2012) we launched a new commitment to partnership working which will mean that all the organisations join forces to reduce homelessness and provide sustainable, mixed and cohesive communities. 

Housingprotocol2012.jpgOur aim is to also help the partner housing associations make the best use of their housing stock in the light of the recent changes through the Welfare Reform Act which could mean that tenants are affected by cuts to benefits and may need to consider moving to a smaller property.

Launched under the Housing and Regeneration Initiative (HARI) the new Homelessness Prevention Protocol will include work to identify those at risk of homelessness and ensure everyone works together at an early stage.

Data sharing and client visits will ensure direct help and advice to those most at risk such as those in rent arrears. The agreement will also help to direct more investment into housing needs.

HARI Board member and Elected Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill, said:

“This is not an easy time for many people and sadly homelessness is increasing. There are positive steps we can take together working across boundaries to ensure that advice is in place, so that people are assisted not to become homeless from housing association properties locally."

Cllr Martin Trevett, portfolio holder for the Environment at Three Rivers District Council and member of the HARI Board said:

“In these difficult economic times, it is important that we do all we can to prevent homelessness.

"Both Councils remain responsible for homelessness in their area, however this scheme will build on an already strong relationship between Watford Borough Council and Three Rivers District Council – to ensure that we support tenants and tackle potential issues early. 

"We will also work together with the housing associations to ensure the best possible outcomes for all those tenants who may be at risk.”

About Housing and Regeneration Initiative (HARI)
 
HARI is a partnership between this Council and Watford Borough Council and its purpose is to enable the two councils and Registered Social Landlords with stock in the areas to work together to increase the supply of affordable housing; increase community sustainability; improve the services offered to residents and bring benefits to both the residents of social housing in the areas and individual member organisations.