The Shelter Stirling Making Advice Work Project aims to prevent homelessness of tenants in member housing associations and the local authority in the Stirling wide area including both Stirling town and Stirlingshire. The service looks to address both Housing issues that threaten to endanger someone’s accommodation and the often underlying money and debt issues that can lead to loss of accommodation.
How we do it
The service provides independent, face to face advice, support and advocacy to tenants struggling to sustain their tenancy or facing homelessness. We aim to work with your landlord to help you to remain in your property. We provide free, confidential, impartial advice if:
- You are in rent arrears and struggling to pay your rent
- You are affected by the welfare reform changes
- Your landlord is taking legal action against you due to rent arrears
- You are facing money and / or debt problems
- You need help and support with your benefits
- You are a new tenant or struggling to sustain your tenancy
Making Advice Work is a partnership between Shelter Scotland, Stirling Council, Paragon Housing Association, Stirling Rural Housing and Forth Housing Association and is funded by the Scottish Legal Aid Board. The service operates from the Stirling Advice Partnership premises in the Stirling town centre but often involves outreach working in the premises of our partner organisations and also in both service user homes and other appropriate outreach settings.
A client's story
Jane, (name anonymised), is a Stirling Council tenant who was referred to the Making Advice Work project by the Stirling Council Housing Manager. Jane had an eviction decree granted against her because she had accrued a high level of rent arrears.
Through the project Jane was given housing options advice, which included talking her through the likely outcomes if she did nothing and the eviction went ahead. The options that were presented to Jane were:
- She could lose her home and would be deemed intentionally homeless by the local authority and so would not be rehoused through the homeless route
- She allows the council to use a "technical eviction" thereby allowing her to remain in her tenancy but on a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy (SSST)
- She gives up her tenancy and finds private rented accommodation
- She lodges a Minute for Recall which would allow her case to be heard again before a Sheriff.
Jane decided that the best course of action to pursue was for a Minute for Recall to be lodged on her behalf.
After she had made this decision, Jane was given budgeting advice and advised how she could improve her money management. Shelter Scotland worked with her to detail her income and expenditure and negotiations were entered into on her behalf with the Housing Manager at Stirling Council.
The client was referred to the Shelter Housing Law Services for court representation at their new court date. The Sheriff allowed the Minute for Recall to go ahead, allowing Jane an opportunity to come to a repayment arrangement with Stirling Council, which would allow her to remain in her home. It is now 4 months since this repayment arrangement was agreed and Jane has continued with the payments towards her arrears and so is still living in her home.
Through engaging with Jane, preparing court documentation, arranging for representation and providing ongoing advice and advocacy for her, the project was able to ensure the best possible outcome for Jane.