Another sign that the cut in the spare room subsidy cut is already delivering positive outcomes after just one year. Orbit isone of the largest housing associations. They are responsible for around 38,000 with around 2,500 households affected by the spare room subsidy cut. Rather than just shrug and complain about the Government, Orbit have adopted a practical approach to make a success of welfare reform. They have reduced arrears by around £210,000, while 275 ‘under-occupiers’ have been successfully down-sized – freeing up larger properties for those in need.
24 Dash reports:
“Its money advice and tenancy support service has provided additional support for customers facing difficulty – resulting in a gain of around £2.5 million in additional income for customers in the last year – whilst also successfully reducing evictions.
Lee Steele, head of income services at Orbit Living, said:
“I am delighted with our results, which are a real credit to our team’s hard work and adaptability.
“We have worked tirelessly on welfare reform for several years now and are really reaping the rewards for that work. Our strong commitment to customer education, advice and support has effectively enabled our residents to understand their options and plan for changes which affect them.
“We are committed to treating our customers as adults, providing them with information so that they can make their own informed choices in difficult economic times. We fully support a culture of personal responsibility, enabling us to focus our attentions on our more vulnerable customers and provide support where it is needed.”
Orbit are also doing well in other areas. They are involved in a redevelopment scheme in Bexley replacing tower blocks with proper family homes. Orbit are innovative rigorous in seeking to defeat welfare dependency and crime and anti social behaviour. They offer flexibility to allow their tenants to start a “journey” to home ownership. They are also transparent about how they spend their money. Rather than sneer at the Big society initiative they consider what they can do to take part.
A model of good practice that some others in the “sector” should take note of.