Tenancy sustainment in social housing is a real sore spot for many professionals in the sector and the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t made it any easier. Prior to the pandemic, many local authorities, like Haringey Council, were offering face-to-face tenancy training workshops. They were not only resource heavy, but also difficult to attend by targeted applicants due to childcare or work commitments.
“The introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act and the need to create a Personalised Housing Plan for each customer also meant that we had to review our capacity to offer face-to-face training to significantly more people, and we considered other ways to deliver this. The majority of our customers will need to consider moving to the private sector to resolve their housing need and we wanted to ensure that they were prepared for this. We therefore decided to create e-learning courses for customers that we could include as an action for them to complete in their Personalised Housing Plan” says Bev Faulkner, Head of Housing Needs at Haringey Council.
Could EazyLearn be the solution to socially distanced learning?
Haringey Council appointed Home Connections to provide a housing solution that would enable tenants to learn whilst socially distanced. The partnership created EazyLearn, a bespoke software to deliver easy-to-use online learning courses that teach housing applicants how to manage a private rented tenancy. The courses can be accessed 24/7 and completed in the applicant’s own time and at their own pace. At the end of each successfully completed course, an applicant receives a certificate to show to their Housing Officer.
“We have worked with Home Connections on a number of projects over the years and have always been impressed with their ‘can do’ attitude, efficiency and value for money. Once again they haven’t disappointed, but were able to realise the vision that we had” says Bev.
The first module was designed to ensure housing applicants are ‘tenancy ready’, and to teach prospective applicants the pitfalls of the private sector and understand their rights when privately renting. This is a great selling point for prospective landlords and for applicants. Out of 209 of Haringey’s housing applicants surveyed, 82% stated that the course was useful in teaching them things about private sector they didn’t know. Over 96% said they would put into practice the things they have learnt.
“Completing this online learning course is sometimes the first time an applicant has accessed training on-line, and the first certificate they have received, which is a great way to empower them” says Bev.
“This universal and innovative e-learning solution can be used in such a wide range of scenarios, it might just be a way forward in this ‘new normal’ way of living and working. Many people are finding the lockdown has put extra pressure on tenancies, incomes and relationships. Our e-learning
platform can offer free advice, support and a degree of reassurance. Most importantly, it is a resource-free way to share knowledge with a large numbers of applicants, helping obtain realistic expectations about their potential housing outcomes” says Ninesh Muthiah, CEO at Home Connections.