Research Reports and Evaluations - Page 45

There was a strong view that brokerage loan funds should not be used to assist clients out of arrears if they fell behind as this would add to financial pressures. Although there was recognition that additional support may be needed for clients who experience setbacks, particularly to avoid the necessity of accessing pay day lenders. How clients are managing their housing needs ongoing monitoring. The flexible repayment system was considered beneficial as it has allowed clients to ‘juggle’ competing expenses. 7.9 Stronger links with housing providers The Community Housing Sector is expected to experience ongoing growth to become an important alternative for affordable housing into the future. Staff, external providers and clients recognised the important role of community housing, although at the same time recognising that the options can be limited and there are often time delays in gaining access and long waiting lists. Nonetheless, as the program expands there will be a need to develop stronger collaborative partnerships with local community housing and NRAS providers in the area as an alternative housing option or to provide a pathway from private rental into community housing if the property becomes unaffordable. Brokerage funding can be used to house clients quickly in the private rental sector and once housed clients can be further assessed to determine whether community housing would be more suitable in the longer-term and be supported whilst on a waiting list. Being able to help out with the rent in a more ongoing way – it is a one off thing but the rent difficulties can still persist – there needs to be something else when you come up short [Client interview] I don’t think that they should provide a loan to assist with arrears that could make it quite tricky. Although the pay day lending and loan sharks are a real problem [External stakeholder]. Recommendation 9: Undertake periodic reviews and follow up with tenants as a condition of the loan agreement. This includes seeking consent to liaise with real estate agents to determine whether any difficulties with rental payments have occurred and how rental and loan repayments can be renegotiated. Recommendation 10: Explore options to develop MoUs for referral protocols with community housing providers for those who have been assisted into a private rental property but who will need to be relocated to a longer-term affordable housing arrangement. 38