Ipswich Borough Council is helping its tenants avoid possible eviction when suffering from financial or health issues.
Pre-warrant panels are used when tenants have breached a possession order and face homelessness. They try to get to the root of the problems within individual households – inviting tenants to be open about difficulties they face and to see if money advice, support and guidance could help.
Of course, paying your rent should be your first priority but eviction – and the trauma of homelessness – is a last resort and prevention can not only help families in acute need but also save thousands of pounds in eviction costs and vital resources aimed at helping the homeless.
In the past year, nearly a quarter of the 60 tenants involved in the panels managed to clear their debts and this slashed evictions by more than half. Many tenants said they got into difficulties when suffering from health issues and increased stress.
Now the Council is introducing the panels before tenants even get to court in a bid to help families earlier and to save even more money on legal costs.
The panels scheme has proved so successful that Ipswich has been asked to give advice to other local authorities in Suffolk, Wales and elsewhere in the UK.