Welfare reform changes are beginning to affect the lives of social housing tenants. As the voice of housing for the North, the Northern Housing Consortium know that these and future changes will impact our members’ tenants, their families, social networks, and their communities and many will struggle to manage.
As well as ongoing advice and support for members and their tenants affected by these changes, we wanted to further understand how individuals were managing in their day-to-day lives.
Alongside seven Registered Providers from the North of England and with support from York University we have launched a research project that will bring together case studies of social housing tenants affected by these welfare reform changes. The research will track their journey over a period of time to really understand and capture the financial and human impact welfare reform changes may have.
Following the introduction of the Under Occupation Deduction (known as the bedroom tax) our members have identified a number of tenants that are affected.
Each participating organisation will work with 10-15 households over a period of approximately 18 months to monitor record and understand their experiences. The questionnaire covers the under occupation deduction, applying for and receiving benefits, responding to non-benefit dependency, how they manage their finances now and when Universal Credit comes into play and generally how they cope.
Each organisation will have 10-15 households they will intensively track and monitor. These case studies will aim to provide a cross section of household and benefit claimant types. Each case study household will undertake a survey/interview every three months using an agreed questionnaire being completed by trained staff. Each organisation will complete these questionnaires within a similar time frame. The interviews will begin in July 2013 with the first report expected in September 2013.
Communicating the results
We will use the results and insights that we gather from the research to form a joint report each quarter. The report will also be split by organisation to get a local perspective.
We will use both the national housing and local media to promote and share our findings as well as regular updates on our website and through communication with members.