Housing Needs Service
The Housing Needs service provides advice and assistance to people wishing to access housing within the district via Homefinder (our Choice Based Lettings service) and the Housing Solutions team. There are currently around 5,500 people on our Housing Register, which include our current council tenants wishing to transfer, general applicants wishing to move into social housing and homeless applicants. As the largest social housing provider within the Mansfield district, we are the main provider of tenancies to vulnerable people, many with complex needs. The Housing Needs service has therefore developed in-house long and short term support services and co-ordinating specialist support services to meet the identified needs of our customers. In partnership we work alongside colleagues from statutory and voluntary agencies to ensure vulnerable people living in the district have access to a package of support that meets their individual need.
Homefinder (Choice Based Lettings)
We has joined with Ashfield District Council and other social landlords in both districts to carry out all our lettings through Homefinder, our choice-based lettings scheme. Homefinder will register people looking for accommodation onto the Housing Register and this will allow applicants to "bid" for the empty properties that are advertised on Homefinder's website. Homefinder also co-ordinates advertising of mutual exchanges as well as carrying out assessments for applicants wishing to move on medical, social or welfare grounds. www.amhomefinder.co.uk
Homelessness and housing advice
Over the past two years there have been significant changes in the way homelessness advice and assistance has been delivered in Mansfield District with more emphasis now being placed on preventative work and improving access to settled homes. New services have been developed, including the Housing Solutions Service and homelessness prevention activities delivered by housing solutions and other agencies have helped to reduce the number of people who are accepted as statutory homeless. However further changes are needed in order to ensure the that even fewer people will become homeless in Mansfield and people who do become homeless will be housed as soon as possible and are less likely to become homeless again. These changes are outlined in the Homelessness Strategy which can be access via the homelessness strategy links situated on the right hand side of this page.
Long term support services
The Government's overall housing policy objective is to ensure older people have access to a decent, affordable, and appropriate home and is central to the Council's Corporate priorities.
Housing is pivotal to enabling older people to remain involved and live their lives to the full, especially when it is allied to the right support, care and the wider services that older people need and want. The development of flexible support services that responds to individual need partnered with assistive technology is key to supporting and promoting independence of older people by increasing the housing options available to them. The housing need service is also responsible for providing long term support services to elderly and vulnerable tenants living in the 29 sheltered schemes situated throughout the Mansfield, Mansfield Woodhouse and Warsop areas. The long term support service also delivers the Lifeline and Telecare Services aimed at promoting independent living and allowing vulnerable people to remain living in their own home, be it private or rented .
Short term support services
Whilst the number of people presenting themselves as homeless in Mansfield has fallen in recent years due mainly to the preventive actions and improved access to settled homes, some people still find themselves homeless and in need of temporary accommodation. The short term support service provides support to vulnerable people accessing and staying in the Council's temporary accommodation units.
The estimated total cost to a landlord of each tenancy failure is said to be in excess of £2,000 and many tenancy breakdowns can be prevented if effective low level support is available.The aim of the Tenancy Support Service therefore is to assist tenants in maintaining their tenancies and to live independently within the community. This low level support service is a short-term service of between 3 months to 2 years, dependent on individual needs. It is provided by Tenancy Support Officers and a Money Adviser based at Local Area Housing Offices. Their purpose is to work with tenants to ensure that they can sustain their tenancies. This will be achieved by the provision of a range of advice and assistance, including help to claim benefits, advice on budgeting, paying bills, debt counselling and complying with tenancy conditions. If the customer requires specialist support they will be referred to one of the Council's partner agencies.