A credit union rent account is one less worry – #povertyinwales
Miss X* is a young mum living in the South Wales area. She has often struggled to manage her finances and having a young, sick child to support living from week to week can be a constant challenge. Paying bills and dealing with money has always worried Miss X. These worries are true concerns due to the added expenses involved in providing and caring for a sick child.
Miss X has been living in her current, privately rented property for over a year and a half and receives local housing allowance to pay her rent. Her landlady told her about the Credit Union Rent Account when she began to struggle to keep up with payments and Miss X was more than happy to sign up to the scheme. The landlady’s support has been invaluable, making it quick and easy to set up the account.
Rent has always been a priority for Miss X and having the Credit Union Rent Account is ‘one less worry.’ If Miss X can’t get to the bank for any reason, she can still have peace of mind that her rent will be paid direct to her landlord as soon as her benefits are received by the credit union.
The Tackling Homelessness through Financial Inclusion (THFI) project at the Wales Co-operative Centre has been supporting credit unions to offer the rent account and promotes the scheme across Wales to private sector landlords and their tenants. The aim of the project is to support landlords and tenants to maintain tenancies through welfare benefit reform by using a Credit Union Rent Account to pay rent.
Project officer, Lucia Gillespie, has been working alongside the private sector housing liaison officers in local authorities by visiting tenants in their homes, to make them aware of the Credit Union Rent Account and forthcoming welfare reforms. Lucia completes a support questionnaire with the tenant to look at how they are managing money and identify additional support needs.
As a result, tenants have benefitted from signposting to environmental health, their local citizens advice bureau, food banks and being made aware of the low cost loans and saving options available at their local credit union.
* This is an account from someone who wishes to remain anonymous.
Listen to THFI Project Manager Jocelle Lovell talking about the benefits of a credit union rent account on SoundCloud.