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SARH successfully helps customers to plan their finances
SARH is successfully helping more customers to manage their money and avoid financial difficulties.
SARH has one of the lowest rent arrears of any housing association in the country – accounting for just 1.17 per cent of their total rent for 2010/11.
Karen Armitage, Chief Executive of SARH, said: “Our main aim is to ensure customers have a settled and sustained tenancy that is free from any financial hardship. We work extremely hard in partnership with other agencies in the borough to provide debt advice, welfare benefits advice and other financial support.”
Despite difficult economic conditions SARH is in the top 10 per cent of housing associations with low rent arrears in the UK and the result has seen the number of evictions for unpaid rent fall to just three last year.
SARH has introduced a dedicated money management advisor, Liz Pilley, and improved its online payment system to help customers with money matters.
A key part of Liz’s job is carrying out affordability checks for customers who find it difficult to pay their rent or other charges to SARH. She also provides support and guidance to help customers budget for priority debts to prevent arrears occurring or escalating.
Last year SARH also collected £484,000 through online payments – a 20 per cent increase from the previous year.
By successfully collecting outstanding rent from the previous financial year SARH has generated an additional £127,000 – equivalent to the cost of 38 new bathrooms – which will be ploughed back into its homes across the borough.
“We are extremely pleased with our performance on tackling rent arrears and we will continue to work with our customers and partner organisations to prevent our customers getting into financial difficulties,” said Karen Armitage.
“I would urge any customers who have financial worries to contact Liz. We want to help all of our customers to maximise their income and fully utilise the benefits they are entitled to.”