20 October 2020
The UK is set to leave the EU soon, meaning that EU citizens living in the UK will need to apply for the new EU Settlement Scheme.
This briefing sets out changes affecting EU citizens living in the UK and how housing associations can support staff and residents to apply to the scheme. The NHF has worked with immigration advice charity Settled to produce this guidance for housing association members.
The guidance recommends that housing associations do the following:
We talk to Corine Meier, Tenancy Sustainment Advisor at Gloucester City Homes and volunteer at Settled – an immigration advice charity – about the EU settlement scheme and what it means for housing associations, staff and residents.See more
Just as the number of EU citizens and their family members in the UK is not known, so the number of EU tenants and their family members in social housing is also unclear. Many social landlords find that the data relating to their tenants’ and family members’ nationalities is not accurate, up-to-date or even recorded.
To reach out to their EU tenants, housing associations can start by reviewing the data held in their databases or CRM systems. The list of tenants with an EU nationality or who require information in an EU language can be used for calls by front-line staff. Accounts of affected tenants can be flagged so the question is asked when they next contact the housing association.
Front-line staff such as income, tenancy officers, wardens, support workers and customer services officers can be trained to signpost. They will also be able to use the knowledge of their patch to flag families in need.
Linking up with partner organisations such as food banks, homeless shelters, community centres, job centres, domestic abuse refuges, addiction organisations, schools and churches will help spread the word.
Tenants helped can be asked to promote the scheme through their networks, including via social media or the local shops they use.
Local authorities offer the biggest reach through their children, adult social care, homelessness, housing and benefits services. A few have started promoting the scheme to all their residents.
Home Office information can be relayed through social media, on rent statements and telephone recording systems, alongside posters and flyers in sheltered schemes, supported housing schemes and blocks of flats.
It is likely though that some EU tenants will not have made an application on time. For this reason, housing associations should be ready to identify accounts in arrears come 1 July 2021 as a late application for good cause could be made provided it is submitted within a reasonable time period.