Supported Accommodation Residents PRS Workshop Session notes Section 1: Intro and Context (10 mins) Whole group Introduce workshop leader(s) Explain facilitators’ background and role Draw attention to www.privaterentedsector.org.uk [SLIDE] Take them through the session timetable and quickly talk them through it [SLIDE] Aims [SLIDE] o Influence attitudes towards use of the PRS, reducing resistance and negative perceptions to it. o Provide knowledge about existing PRS schemes. Objectives [SLIDE] Following the workshop, residents will: o Have a fact-based understanding about the current availability of social housing, and the consequent need to consider resettlement in the PRS o Have a demonstrable knowledge of PRS schemes currently operating in London. Does anyone want to add anything to either the aims or objectives, or clarify any aspect of them? Does anyone disagree with any of them? Section 2: Experience and perceptions of the PRS (25 mins) Whole group Explain what is meant be the PRS (i.e. accommodation privately owned by a landlord, whether an individual or a company, that is let out to a tenant, usually on a lease arrangement, normally for profit) How many people here have previously lived in the Private Rented Sector? What were your experiences of living in the PRS? What do you think about the idea of moving into the PRS? … Section 3: Silt-up of hostels/move on waits (20 mins) Whole group Group discussion (10 mins) How long have you lived in your current accommodation? What info have you been given about how long you will have to wait for permanent move on? … Tutor talk (10 mins) Silt-up of hostels. o Homeless Link, ‘No Room to Move’ – the average waiting time for move on into permanent social housing is 6-12 months, many have to wait more than 2 years. More recent research by Broadway says that waits can be up to 3 years. o Others will never get move on, no matter how long they wait, because they won’t fit the criteria that the council or housing associations have. o From that same research we know that extended move on waits affects residents’ mental and physical health, and makes it difficult to maintain motivation to address issues such as drug/alcohol misuse. Describe move-on situation for that provider and/or borough i.e. how many nominations the residents’ supported accommodation provider has annually, and how many people are waiting for move on in that provider. Section 4: Differences between PRS and social housing (25 mins: exercise, 10 mins; feedback/discussion, 15 mins) Small groups (2-6 people in each, depending on size of group) It's Your Move 'Move-On' Options exercise, pens, blu-tac [HANDOUT – IT’S YOUR MOVE ‘MOVE-ON OPTIONS’ EXERCISE] Split people into groups of 3 or 4, and hand each a ‘grid’ of move on ‘descriptors’ Exercise is to look at each of the following descriptors and decide whether you think they apply to PRS, social housing, both or neither. With reference to any one of the sheets, look at items where there was universal agreement, and where there was some disagreement Where there was agreement, and it agrees with the table below, no need to discuss it – just acknowledge and move on. Where there is some disagreement with list below, tutor to raise it, and allow group to resolve it. Add clarification if necessary. Descriptor Widely available and can move quickly You can choose which area you want Furnished No deposit needed Tenancy is secure The ‘right’ answer** PRS PRS (also social housing to a limited extent) Both/neither Social housing Both or neither Notes With CBL you have some choice. Locata lets you bid for something in another borough that is part of the scheme. Although with Rent Deposit Schemes, might also apply to PRS as well Tenants in social housing and PRS will both be on ASTs, and can get evicted for the same reasons. In practice, RSLs may be more ‘sympathetic’ landlords, but even this can’t be assumed. Floating support is not tenure specific, so it can support people in the PRS. However, in RSLs there may be more dedicated, accommodation-based support. Although this could take a long time (Don’t allow too much debate over this point, as the next part of the session will explore this in more detail anyway) Although add that in the PRS people might often flatshare Although do note the downside of this, as well as the upside There will always be at least some service charge element, even in social housing. In truth, in neither will you be responsible for everything (e.g. it will be the landlord’s responsibility to undertake repairs) and neither do you have total freedom in either. In both cases there will be rules and restrictions. With RSLs this is not clear cut. While ASTs are increasingly prevalent in RSLs, some will still offer secure tenancies. Note however that for our client group, in most cases it would be ASTs. Support is available when you’re in tenancy Can exchange your house or flat with other tenants – after you’ve been there for a while Rent varies and can be very cheap You have company and feel less isolated Very flexible Often you don’t have to pay bills You’re responsible for everything and have freedom to do what you want Both Social housing Both Both/neither PRS Neither Neither Short term tenancy agreement Both Variable quality of accommodation – sometimes nice and sometimes grotty Both Landlords aren’t keen on HB While many do say ‘No DSS’, there are plenty who do. Indeed, many PRS landlords ‘specialise’ in the HB market. In the case of RSLs, the majority of their tenants are HB claimants. Difficult to get – long waiting list Social housing Make this a point of discussion Not your own space Both/neither You have rights and responsibilities in both. For the term of your tenancy, as long as you pay your rent, it is in a sense yours. *Note,that with many of these items there are no clear cut right or wrong answers, so facilitators role is not to correct people, but to raise discussion where there is difference in opinion. PRS … Section 5: Getting support while living in the PRS (10 mins) Whole group Currently there is a lack of availability of support when living in this type of property - majority of boroughs do not target individuals with any ongoing support needs. New schemes being developed that are aimed at people with ongoing support needs. Types of support provided signposting floating support support integral to the scheme support for specific client groups, e.g. probation, substance use Section 6: Paying to live in the PRS (45 mins) Part 1: Costs of PRS (10 mins) Whole group Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance o It is still the case that many landlords and agents will say ‘No DSS’ (note that the Department for Social Security closed in 2001!) o HB admin time does vary considerably, and therefore can still make people prone to eviction. o LHA coming in 2008. Should make matters more straightforward – more transparent. Rent is set based on average for area (Broad Rental Market Area). Can use your LHA to get a suitable flat you can afford, and keep up to £15 of it if the flat is cheaper. o Currently, majority of HB payments for PRS tenants is made direct to landlord (about 60%). With LHA there will be direct payments to tenants, unless deemed they ‘can’t pay’ or ‘won’t pay’. Rent Levels o Can vary greatly, but there is a lot out there that falls within HB levels o The maximum a claimant could be entitled to is the whole of the rent they pay for their accommodation, although in most cases there will be a shortfall. o While it will be more expensive than permanent social housing, there is affordable PRS accommodation in London. o http://www.gumtree.com/london/south-london-studio-flat_196_1.html (show range of rental values) [If there is no cheap accommodation visible on webpage, show pre-prepared SLIDE of genuine recent advert] [HANDOUT – Average rents data from GLA) The cost of it can be similar or even lower than the supported accommodation that they might currently be residing in - both are more expensive then permanent move-on, but as we know that is often not going to be an option. [SLIDE comparing rent levels] Part 2: Working while in the PRS (35 mins) Small groups (2-6 people in each, depending on size of group) Calculators Poverty trap? o Unfortunately this is a very real and complex problem o But it is as much, if not more, of a problem in supported accommodation than it is in the PRS. o In permanent social housing, the poverty trap is theoretically lessened i.e. because if rent is lower, the financial benefits of working kick in at a much lower income level than they would in a more expensive PRS flat. o Arguably though, culture and location and a range of other factors within social housing can mitigate against work, despite the lower rent levels. o While the PRS is more expensive, it doesn’t mean people can’t work. [HANDOUT – CASE STUDY EXERCISE] Discussion about whether people are better off by working in the PRS, compared to being unemployed in supported accommodation. Observations about case studies to draw out: o Important to note that both can afford to work o Also important to note that they are now paying their own way, through their own earnings, rather than relying on benefits. o Even though they arguably do not have much disposable income, they are both taking steps towards independence (in Steve’s case, note that moving into the PRS will enable him to rebuild his relationship with his daughter) Section 7: PRS Schemes in London (15 mins) Laptop, data projector www.privaterentedsector.org.uk Section 8: Conclusions/final thoughts/Is the PRS a realistic solution? (15 mins) Pairs Post-it notes and pens Evaluation sheets Is the PRS a more realistic solution than you thought two hours ago? Why? Or why not? Name two or three things you have learned today? What else would you have liked to have learned or would want to learn in a future session?
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