Key Points
  • Finding viable alternatives to sustain tenancies through the economic shock of COVID-19 and working together to avoid a housing emergency
  • Anticipating the needs of a diverse range of renters and supporting them with targeted solutions accessing benefits and administering accessible repayment schemes
  • Evaluating the long-lasting impact of government welfare benefit changes, Universal Credit (UC) and Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs) and its implications on resource allocation
  • Implementing proactive strategies using data and digital communications, to identify and attend changes in renter's situations, improving landlord-tenant relationships moving forward
  • Exploring debt relief options and available resources to support the most vulnerable and avoiding a surge in evictions and in homelessness
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Overview

Expert Speakers:

  • Baroness Alicia Kennedy, Director, Generation Rent
  • Baroness Olly Grender, Lords Spokesperson for Housing House of Lords
  • Chris Norris, Policy Director, NRLA
  • Tessa Shepperson, Solicitor and Author, Landlord Law
  • Richard Lane, Director of External Affairs, Step Change
  • Chris Wood, Assistant Director of Research, Policy and Public Affairs, Shelter
  • Eugene Nixon, Head of Strategy and Compliance, Southwark Council
  • Tim Savill, Assistant Director Revenues, Benefits and Rents Birmingham City Council
  • Laurinda Hornblow, Head of Income, Sovereign Housing
  • Shaun Flook, Head of Housing Needs, London Borough of Camden
  • Caroline Speir, Head of Finance (Credit Control), Thirteen Group
  • Chris Marshall, Head of Housing Services, Thirteen Group
  • Caitlin Wilkinson, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Generation Rent
  • Chris Walker, Behavioural Insights Lead, Voicescape
  • Rohan Martyres, Portfolio Manager, Guy's and St. Thomas Charity


  • The acute economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic, set against a backdrop of increasing poverty, declining living standards and the problematic implementation of Universal Credit, has created an escalating rent debt crisis. With an end to the Government suspension of evictions and the furlough scheme it is essential to reduce rent arrears, support vulnerable people and prevent homelessness.

    Westminster Insight’s timely Digital Conference will feature key stakeholders from across the housing and third sector, who will explore successful strategies that have been adopted during the pandemic. You will hear from housing associations and local authorities who will share strategies to reduce arrears by engaging with tenants, create viable pathways to sustainable tenancies and address the needs of renters without compromising the integrity and services of social and private landlords.

    Gain practical strategies from leading organisations including Sovereign Housing, the first to halt evictions, and Thirteen Group on adapting resources and adopting new ways of engaging with tenants to reduce arrears including the use of data and more personable approaches.

    You will explore the long-lasting impact of welfare benefit schemes on budgeting and resource allocation from Birmingham City Council and gain insight into the best practice cases implemented by local authorities like Southwark Council’s leading strategy to restructure debt payments. Learn from the insights of forefront services advising tenants in need, like Step Change and the pilot programme implemented by the London Borough of Camden to support different segments of tenants, preventing a new type of homelessness.

    You will hear policy proposals by Executive Directors from Generation Rent, NRLA and Shelter which explore alternatives to protect vulnerable people from eviction and ensuring that evictions are used as a last resort to avoid a homelessness emergency.


Agenda
Start

09:00 - 09:10
Chair's Opening Remarks

 

Speakers

Baroness Alicia Kennedy Director, Generation Rent

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09:10 - 09:40
Keynote Address: Working together to emerge from Covid19

 
  • Reviewing policy responses and long-term alternatives to prevent homelessness and support the housing sector
  • Preparing for the end of emergency legislation to prevent mass eviction and homelessness
  • Exploring alternatives to maintain affordable housing standards in a context of economic stress
9:30-9:40 Questions and Discussion

Speakers

Baroness Olly Grender Lords Spokesperson for Housing

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09:40 - 10:20
Panel Discussion: Exploring sustainable solutions to manage rent arrears and protect vulnerable groups during Covid19

 
  • Identifying successful government intervention and protecting high risk groups that are most vulnerable to loss of income
  • Creating viable pathways that are sustainable to landlords and renters through effective repayment schemes for COVID-19 related arrears
  • Analysing proposals to make managed payment systems more effective
  • Amendments proposed to Section 21 of Renters Reform bill
  • Exploring the private landlords’ perspective and needs to manage debt

10:10-10:20 Questions and Discussion

Speakers

Tessa Shepperson Solicitor and Author, Landlord Law

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Chris Norris Director of Policy and Campaigns, NRLA

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Caitlin Wilkinson Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Generation Rent

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10:20 - 10:45
Lessons from Sovereign Housing: Planning for long term capacity and resource relocation to adapt to the changing environment.

 
  • Utilising different platforms to communicate with residents safely
  • Making use of data proactively to identify tenant’s needs
  • Reassessing rent collection approaches in the short and long term following health and distancing guidelines
  • Learning from Sovereign Housing experience as the first HA to announce a halt to evictions
10:40-10:45 Questions and discussion

Speakers

Laurinda Hornblow Head of Income, Sovereign Housing

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10:45 - 11:10
Case Study: Exploring Thirteen Group’s Pandemic Response and Harnessing Valuable Learnings

 
  • Reviewing possible changes in tenant behaviour, service delivery and landlord-tenant relationships moving forward
  • Moving from debt collection to support provision to improve relationship with tenants and effectively managing arrears
  • Administering effective agreements for repayment

11:05-11:10 Questions and Discussion

Speakers

Chris Marshall Head of Housing Services, Thirteen Group

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Chris Walker Behavioural Insights Lead, Voicescape

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Caroline Speirs Head of Finance (Credit Control), Thirteen Group

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11:10 - 11:20
Break

 

11:20 - 11:45
Case study: Exploring the Long-term Impact of Benefit Changes and adapting to the ‘New Normal’

 
  • Evaluating the long-lasting impact of government welfare benefit changes, including Universal Credit (UC) (and Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs))
  • Administering effective agreements for repayment.
  • Rethinking resource allocation in the new normal to adapt to the new working conditions
11:40- 11:45 Questions and Discussion

Speakers

Tim Savill Assistant Director, Revenues, Benefits and Rents, Birmingham City Council

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11:45 - 12:10
Case Study: Strategies for Debt and Repayment Options: Southwark Council’s Approach

 
  • Looking into repayment options for residents with diverse needs
  • Reviewing Southwark Council’s pilot programmes for handling Covid19 debt
  • Collaborating with different organisations to provide integral support schemes including financial and health services
12:00-12:10 Questions and Discussion

Speakers

Rohan Martyres Portfolio Manager, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity

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Eugene Nixon Head of Strategy and Compliance, Southwark Council

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12:10 - 12:40
Identifying those in need and exploring proactive solutions for debt repayment schemes

 
  • Understanding the demographics and debt trends as identified by Step Change in the past year
  • Exploring Camden Council’s strategy to identify and engage with residents in need of assistance
  • Reviewing policy proposals and advise provided by different organisations
  • Beyond benefits, protecting residents falling between the gaps
  • Protecting the Vulnerable: Ensuring multi-agency collaboration to support those with Mental Health and Disability

12:30- 12:40 Questions and Discussion

Speakers

Richard Lane Director of External Affairs, Step Change

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Shaun Flook Head of Housing Needs, Camden Council

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12:40 - 13:10
Exploring evictions and homeless prevention

 
  • Reviewing the current situation on homelessness evictions and rent arrears and opportunities to build back better
  • Protecting people from eviction and homelessness 
  • Ensuring emergency accommodation, in line with health guidelines
13:00-13:10 Questions and Discussion

Speakers

Chris Wood Assistant Director of Research, Policy and Public Affairs, Shelter

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13:10 - 13:20
Chairs Closing Remarks

 

Speakers

Baroness Alicia Kennedy Director, Generation Rent

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End

Speakers

Shaun Flook Head of Housing Needs, Camden Council

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Baroness Olly Grender Lords Spokesperson for Housing

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Laurinda Hornblow Head of Income, Sovereign Housing

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Baroness Alicia Kennedy Director, Generation Rent

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Richard Lane Director of External Affairs, Step Change

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Chris Marshall Head of Housing Services, Thirteen Group

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Rohan Martyres Portfolio Manager, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity

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Eugene Nixon Head of Strategy and Compliance, Southwark Council

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Chris Norris Director of Policy and Campaigns, NRLA

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Tim Savill Assistant Director, Revenues, Benefits and Rents, Birmingham City Council

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Tessa Shepperson Solicitor and Author, Landlord Law

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Caroline Speirs Head of Finance (Credit Control), Thirteen Group

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Chris Walker Behavioural Insights Lead, Voicescape

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Caitlin Wilkinson Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Generation Rent

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Chris Wood Assistant Director of Research, Policy and Public Affairs, Shelter

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Venue details

Digital Event Broadcast Live


Speakers
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