HARP residents go from debt to financial independence
When a person experiencing homelessness moves into a HARP property, they get more than just a roof over their head. HARP residents are given the support they need to ensure that they can stay off the streets and overcome homelessness for good. An individual’s finances are often an area that requires attention.
Everyone staying with HARP has a key worker who provides the support they need to make changes in their life and develop financial and other skills that will enable them to move on and live independently.
Whether a HARP resident has previously lost their job and ended up with rent arrears, been a victim of financial abuse, or is having to start again financially after the end of a relationship, their key worker will provide the support they need to get back on their feet.
Millie West, a Housing Project Worker for HARP’s Supported Housing service, said: “One of our residents had built up over £5,000 of debt due to financial abuse and this week I was able to clear these for her. I felt so ecstatic that I even danced around the office and when I called to give her the good news, she was absolutely over the moon - although she couldn't believe it at first. She felt like this was a fresh start for her and told me it was the best thing that had happened to her in over a decade."
People who have experienced homelessness can come across even more obstacles when it comes to overcoming financial problems because paperwork is often needed which you are unlikely to have unless you already have a home.
Duncan Abbott, another of our Housing Project Workers, worked with a male resident who had faced financial abuse before becoming homeless and then moving into HARP accommodation. “After building up huge arrears, my client is now in credit, but it wasn’t straightforward. In order to set up payment plans we needed to help him change banks but he needed ID and proof and address to do this, which is tricky when you have been homeless. But we helped him to get his paperwork in order and he is now in credit and looking for his own place.”
Changing habits can be hard and learning to manage finances is no different, but our teams won’t give up on the people they support.
Matthew Pettitt, Team Leader for HARP’s Floating Support Team (East) said: “Due to the team’s persistence and support a resident who had lost previous accommodation because of rent arrears now realises the importance of managing his finances. He never misses payments and is in credit. This was a joint effort by the team and he had many supportive conversations with his keyworker. Now this resident is better equipped to manage his future ‘forever home’.”