Clair is our Tenancy Sustainability Team Leader and, together with her team, focuses on supporting our customers to access the right benefits and additional support. She also provides advice on how to keep your home warm, keep your bills down and much more. To celebrate Scottish Housing Day 2019 we asked Clair to tell us how she is able to help customers and why it means so much to her.
How long have you been part of the team at Irvine Housing Association?
I have worked here for just over 7 years. There had been no tenancy sustainability service like this at Irvine Housing Association (IHA) before and it was great to build the service from scratch and then grow to welcome new staff and help more customers.
What is your job and what does it involve?
I’m the Tenancy Sustainability Team Leader at Irvine and responsible for two Tenancy Sustainability Officers– the team has a wide remit assists tenants with Welfare Benefits advice from benefit calculations to representing them at tribunals, we also assist them with any issues they have with their gas and electricity and liaise with suppliers on their behalf to resolve issues and apply for any grants available i.e. Warm Homes Discounts etc. We also work with our more vulnerable tenants helping them sustain their tenancies by linking them in with other services i.e. Learning Disability Team, Mental Health Services, Addictions Services etc depending on what needs they have.
What is the best thing about your job?
I really enjoy working with tenants and helping them when they have issues. I like working on complex cases trying to figure out what’s going on and finding the best solution. The Welfare System has changed so much since I started, the role is always evolving and I think that’s what keeps it so interesting.
What is your favourite memory of working with our customers?
Wow there are too many to choose from!!
I had been working with a tenant who had high arrears as she had two adult dependants in the house who reduced her Housing Benefit as they were in and out of work. When I got in touch with her, her health was really poor and her house was in disrepair because she didn’t want to report any repairs because she owed so much money. She had been taken off sickness benefit and was expected to look for work and was struggling with this both mentally and physically.
I assisted her to appeal this and after a long process we attended a Tribunal which we won and she got backdated money of over £9,000 and back onto her sickness benefit. We got all her repairs logged, she paid off her rent arrears and made an arrangement for her sons to cover the shortfall in her housing benefit.
I will always remember the reaction when I told her how much backdated money she would be getting – it’s a great feeling when you get a result for a customer who was struggling as much as she was and then seeing how much they thrive after your help & assistance.
If you’d like support with any of these issues call us on 0345 112 6600 and ask to speak to our tenancy sustainability team.