Last month we issued a survey to our members, to help understand how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting residents who may be experiencing reduced or no income at the moment.
Initial results from the survey show that more residents have moved to Universal Credit, and that the amount owed by residents to housing associations (rent arrears) has increased significantly. This suggests that previous problems relating to Universal Credit and rent arrears have remained, and are now at a larger scale.
However, the proportion of residents claiming Universal Credit who are in rent arrears has not increased. This is a positive sign that Universal Credit has continued to cope almost as well as it did prior to the coronavirus crisis, which is a testament to how well the DWP and its systems have responded to the sudden influx of claims.
These findings should be considered provisional until we have more information from further surveys.
Thank you to all our members who completed the last survey – responses covered about a third of housing association stock in England. We share the results with members who complete it, along with DWP and MHCLG officials. We use the evidence it provides to suggest further improvements to Universal Credit, and to evidence the impact of the coronavirus crisis on residents and housing associations.
Our next survey is now open – and we encourage you to complete the survey. The more of our members that do, the better our evidence base when working with government officials.
Please complete the survey by the end of 12 June and contact Anya.Martin@housing.org.uk if you have any questions.