THERE can surely be few more traumatic experiences in life than to risk losing your home.
To make sure the situation occurs as little as possible in the borough’s social housing, Tameside Council has organised the Tameside Pre-eviction Protocol through its homelessness prevention strategy. The aim is to identify problems as quickly as possible so there is plenty of time to offer help and prevent eviction.
The protocol was launched at the offices of Tameside Housing Advice (THA) on Friday, September 2. The event was attended by Cllr Ged Cooney, Tameside Council’s executive member with responsibility for housing; and representatives of nine housing associations including New Charter, Ashton Pioneer Homes, Peak Valley and Regenda.
Cllr Cooney said: “Through the protocol we want to make sure people have support when they need it. Usually, problems are caused by rent arrears. Over the last year, by taking early action, our debt advice team has been able to help three quarters of residents facing these issues to stay in their own homes.
“Tameside Council recognises that housing providers can’t allow rent arrears to spiral out of control, which is why our dealings with them are built on strong two-way communication.
“The pre-eviction protocol is a great example of partnership working. We have almost 20 organisations sharing information and working closely to do all they can to make sure people don’t get evicted.”
As well as debt problems, the protocol looks at matters such as anti-social behaviour. Initial referrals are made to Tameside Housing Advice, which makes a full assessment of the case before deciding on the appropriate course of action.
THA now shares the same building on Old Street, Ashton, with Tameside Debt Advice (TDA). This has vastly improved the working relationship and allows TDA to be brought in as soon as may be necessary.
Housing providers are kept fully informed throughout the process.
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