Research Reports and Evaluations - Page 19

If eligible, participant’s housing and support needs, including their use of existing services is further assessed to develop individualised case management plans. Individuals who are not eligible for loans following assessment are provided with short-term case management support for housing information and referral, typically for one to two service contacts although clients can reengage with their case manager as housing needs arise. Clients are also provided with support on how to prioritise existing debts and become ‘loan ready’ and then return to the service to be reassessed. From January 2013 to October 2014, 136 clients received housing related information and referral support from the program. A further 18 clients received a brokerage loan combined with case management support. Initially, WCC planned to provide up to three months of financial assistance with rent in advance as a way of helping low income households to secure the property and be attractive to potential landlords. However, this was not viable. The loan repayments made by clients each fortnight ensures that a proportion of the funds are able to be replenished over time thereby increasing the overall efficiency of the funds invested. Tables 1 and 2 summarise the amounts of funds borrowed, repayment schedule, and whether the loan has been repaid. A total of $17,925.30 has been paid out for brokerage loans at the time of writing. The amounts of the loan range from $286.50 to $2434, corresponding to a respective average and median amount of $995 and $1162.50 per person. The average amount borrowed in the first year ($1133) was higher than in the second year ($824). Clients supported through the brokerage program are assisted in their search for affordable properties and with their rental applications. Once the client has located a suitable property and their application is approved, WCC directly pays the real estate agent. The amount borrowed typically covers rent in advance for one month although it can be used to cover other housing related expenses. WCC have established policies and procedures for managing the processes of loan repayments and defaults. Following informed consent on the policies on the borrower responsibilities of the loan, the client then negotiates with WCC a fortnightly/monthly repayment schedule that they can afford. Participants then sign an agreement stating that they understand the conditions of the loan and the amount to be repaid. The repayments are paid to WCC through Centrepay or a direct debit arrangement. The loan repayment contract and schedule can be renegotiated to ensure that the client does not experience undue hardship in the event of unexpected expenses or if their circumstances change. 4.1 The repayment schedule negotiated with clients 1 ranged from $10 to $450 a fortnight depending on their capacity to pay and how quick