Housing providers across Greater Manchester have signed up to a national pledge to continue their work to support residents whose lives have been affected by coronavirus.
On Sunday, 23 August, the government’s temporary suspension on evictions across the country is due to be lifted, and the 26 social housing landlords that make up the Greater Manchester Housing Providers partnership have moved quickly to reassure the residents of its 250,000 homes.
The pledges, coordinated by the National Housing Federation who represent housing associations across the country, are as follows:
1. Keeping people secure at home:
No one will be evicted from a housing association home as a result of financial hardship caused by coronavirus, where they are working (or engaging) with their housing association to get their payments back on track
2. Helping people to get the support they need:
Housing associations are helping residents to access benefits and other support to alleviate financial hardship, including supporting people to get work where possible.
3. Acting compassionately and quickly where people are struggling:
Housing associations will work with any resident who is struggling to find arrangements to pay rent that is manageable for them in the long term. Legal action will only be taken in serious circumstances – for example as a last resort where a resident will not agree a plan with their landlord to help them pay their rent, or where it is needed urgently in cases of domestic abuse or of anti-social behaviour that is putting other residents or communities at risk.
Since the start of the pandemic, housing providers have been working closely with residents, local government, the NHS and others to respond to the coronavirus crisis. They are keeping residents safe, keeping vital services running, and helping communities to cope and recover. They know many residents are worried about jobs and getting into debt. Any resident worried about paying their rent should contact their housing association, who will help.
Catherine Ryder, Director of Policy and Research at the National Housing Federation, says:
“We understand it may be worrying for people to hear that the government’s eviction ban is coming to an end when so many people have lost their jobs over the last few months or are concerned about their future. That’s why housing associations want to reassure their residents that even after the end of the government’s ban, no one will be evicted from their home as a result of financial hardship caused by coronavirus as long as residents make contact with their landlord to agree a manageable way to move forward.
“It’s reassuring to see a united approach from social housing landlords across the Greater Manchester region, which will give real peace of mind for the people who live in their homes, whose lives have been affected by COVID-19.
“Even during normal times, we want to remind residents that the evictions process from social housing is very different to that in privately rented homes. Evictions in social housing are only carried out as a very last resort – for example in cases of anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse. Housing associations are charitable landlords that exist to provide homes to people on low incomes and they will continue to work especially closely with their residents during this challenging time.
“If anyone in a housing association home is concerned about being able to pay their rent, the most important thing is to talk to your landlord. We understand this might feel scary but it is the only way that the housing association will be able to help you so do please make contact if you’re struggling.”