Posted on 03 May 2018
The Hyde Group is one of six housing associations working with the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute on research into the effects of housing costs and mental health. It found that more than a million UK adults are struggling with these issues, and that often one feeds the other.
The research backs up what our frontline staff have been reporting – that a high proportion of residents who have rent arrears are also dealing with mental health issues.
Head of Hyde Foundation, Jahanara Rajkoomar explained: “Our experience echoes the findings that mental health problems also make arrears harder to resolve, and our offers of support don’t always get through to residents. This creates a cycle of rent arrears, fears of eviction and mental health problems that is hard to break.”
We already modify our processes - using a version of the report's recommended Breathing Space for those in debt - to allow vulnerable residents to have a pause in formal rent collection activity as long as they are engaging with income officers and in-house advice services. We are committed to ensuring that this engagement happens as early as possible in the collection process, and will look to adopt the report’s recommendations in this area.
Susan Stockwell, Group Director of Customer Services and Operations said: “Hyde welcomes the findings of this research for two reasons; firstly much of our current rent recovery policy is recognised in the report as good practice. It reflects the work we are doing to ensure that those at risk of tenancy failure can access expert advice at any stage during the arrears recovery process.
"Secondly, the report offers additional practical solutions for us to explore to further ensure that our services reach those of our customers who are affected by mental health problems.”