Sustaining wellbeing to sustain tenancies – a very human approach, Muirhouse Housing Association

What was the issue you were addressing or working on?

This is an Example of Practice illustrating how initiatives and extra services run by Housing Associations directly or indirectly have a significant positive impact on the quality of life, health and well-being of those people being supported.

This example describes the practical assistance provided to tenants by Muirhouse through its Enhanced Management Service. This service aims to help people maintain their tenancy, enable people to improve the quality of their life and create the conditions in which people may be more able to address aspects of their health and well-being.

What you did?

Muirhouse is a relatively small housing association, established in 1992 by local residents who wanted to improve housing in the localities of Muirhouse and Drylaw and make them more desirable places to live.  It does not have the specialist welfare officers that can be found in larger housing associations, instead, the team of housing and housing support officers invest significant amounts of time carrying out a range of supportive functions –

  • Early Engagement
  • Income Maximisation
  • Individualised Approach
  • Good links with other agencies
  • Extra help

The Association also set up its own Tenancy Sustainment Fund that can be used to buy goods or make ‘bridging’ rent payments.

What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?

The team has enabled tenants to maximise their income and access external funding; the average amount per tenant has been £1,200, for larger family homes the value has reach £2,000.

Recent feedback from tenants includes comments like, “It has changed my life” and “I’ve got my brain back”.  The housing officers consider that their flexible and supportive approach reduces workload in the long run.

In most years, over half of new tenants access the Tenancy Sustainment Fund to set up home and work towards financial stability.  In 2014/15 the team was able to help tenants access items and vouchers from external funds to such an extent that the demand on its own Fund was reduced.  The bulk of spending from the Fund has been on creating a basic home environment .

The full Example of Practice is available here.

Contacts - to find out more

Brenda Tonner, 0131 336 5282