Labour MP for Redcar visited social housing company Coast & Country recently to learn how the not-for-profit enterprise works for its tenants and the wider community.
Anna spent the day shadowing various Coast & Country teams to see for herself how the housing company goes above and beyond to help its tenants with more than just housing, assisting them with benefit applications, enabling vulnerable people to continue to live independently and tackling antisocial behaviour.
The day began with Anna visiting the Welfare Reform team to see how they assist Coast & Country tenants with their welfare applications. With new rules brought in by the previous coalition government, the main task currently facing the Welfare Reform team is the introduction of Universal Credit and the impact that it will have on its tenants.
Universal Credit will affect many Coast & Country tenants who are looking for work or on a low income and it will eventually replace many of the benefits and tax credits that are currently claimed. The welfare team is proactively approaching Coast & Country tenants who are affected to provide guidance in order to ensure that they are ready for the changes and remain financially stable.
One of the schemes that most impressed the MP was the HomeCall initiative. HomeCall enables vulnerable, elderly and disabled tenants to continue to live independently for longer. The scheme issues tenants with a pendant alarm that, when pressed, directly contacts a HomeCall Independent Living Advisor who will attend the address and provide any emergency assistance necessary.
Anna also spent time with the Rents team and saw how they assist tenants with financial planning and budgeting advice. She was particularly impressed with the flexibility the rents team provides its tenants by allowing them to pay in weekly, fortnightly or monthly intervals depending on their financial situation, meaning that when a tenant has a cash flow problem the team can work with them to provide as much leeway as possible.
Anna Turley MP said:
“I was really impressed with the broad range of support Coast & Country provide to tenants and more widely in the local community. I was also blown away by the commitment and dedication of everyone I met to helping local people, particularly the most vulnerable. Coast & Country’s work is about so much more than just housing and I could really feel how much they care about making a difference.”
Iain Sim, chief executive of Coast & Country said:
“It’s great that Anna took the time to spend a day with us. She was really interested in the work we do, not just with our tenants but with the community as a whole. It’s vitally important that we engage with decision makers, including MPs, to make them aware of the challenges our tenants face and the positive work we are doing to support our tenants and the local community.”