Case study - Coventry Restart

The Coventry Restart (Homelessness Prevention) Project was a small pilot project with an aim to support vulnerable people and families who were one step away from eviction or re-possession.

The project began in January 2014 and was funded by Orbit, Coventry City Council and Whitefriars Housing Group, with the aim of helping people stay in their own homes.

Delivered by Coventry Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) with support from Coventry New Central Credit Union, the pilot aimed to explore and test behaviours of people with severe debt problems who were at serious risk of losing their homes. They were given a realistic opportunity to address their difficult circumstances through effective information, advice and guidance from the Coventry CAB supplemented by an interest free credit union loan to clear any housing arrears.

The project wanted to test whether support given through an independent service provider was likely to help referred clients to re-establish good self-financial management skills and sustain housing and other payments.

The results after 12 months were encouraging; particularly when considering the starting point of participating customers. 50% of participants either made all loan repayments or missed three or less repayments. All maintained their rent payments and all have avoided eviction with only one tenant terminating their tenancy.

Overall, the project has worked. Of the 26 tenants who took Credit Union loans none have been evicted for rent arrears and 19 remain in their original properties. 50% have paid their loan repayments with rent payments simultaneously and everyone involved has fundamentally gained from independent, impartial debt advice.