Fuel and energy efficiency advice to the private rented sector in partnership first

Homes for Good partners with Wise Group to include specialist energy advice within its unique tenancy support programme.

The Wise Group and Homes for Good have come together to improve quality and financial inclusion for over 800 private rented sector tenants in Scotland, in a unique partnership.

This is the first time ongoing energy efficiency and fuel advice has been offered to tenants within the private rented sector directly through their letting agency in Scotland. Over the next 3 years the Wise Group will second a dedicated energy specialist to the Homes for Good team to work with their tenants to ensure their homes are warmer and more affordable, providing specialist energy advice and advocacy support.

The project, led by Homes for Good and made possible thanks to National Lottery Funding, is part of an innovative and varied package of support provided to Homes for Good tenants, to help people on lower incomes to sustain tenancies and have quality homes within the private rented sector. The social enterprise adopts a holistic approach to supporting tenants: ranging from help with benefits claims, financial management and cooking, to applying for education and getting mental health support.

The Wise Group’s Home Energy Advice Team will now also support Homes for Good more widely by reviewing the energy efficiency ratings of its properties. This will build a wider picture of the positive impact of the transformational work carried out by Homes for Good across their stock and the environmental impact of this work.  Energy efficiency works that a landlord agrees to carry out based on this information will have a direct positive impact on the tenant through improved comfort levels and reduced costs in their homes.

Scottish Government’s Energy Efficient Scotland programme [1] acknowledges that overall more people in privately rented accommodation are living in homes that have poorer energy efficiency than elsewhere in the domestic sector [2].

The Programme includes the introduction of new minimum energy efficiency standards to drive improvement in the building stock in this sector.

As well as improving the energy efficiency of buildings, the project recognises that it is equally important to support the occupiers of improved buildings to run the buildings as effectively and efficiently as possible, getting the most out of the improvements.

Wise Group Chief Executive Sean Duffy said:

“The coronavirus outbreak has created an increasingly complex fuel poverty challenge in Scotland. Community-led social enterprise and our twin track approach of ‘People and Place’ have never been more important.” 

 “The Wise Group’s mentoring led-approach to tackling fuel poverty is proven to provide the much needed ‘glue’ between householders and services they need, educating and empowering householders and enabling individuals to achieve outcomes that are sustainable and impacts that are longer term.”

 “Our partnership with Homes for Good, supported by the National Lottery, embodies shared ambition and enables us to harness expertise, commitment, passion and compassion to make a lasting difference to people’s lives.”

Home for Good Executive Director Susan Aktemel said: 

“Fuel poverty and the energy efficiency of privately rented properties are two of the most pressing challenges we have identified within Homes for Good. We are delighted that, with the support of funding from the National Lottery, we have been able to create a substantial programme of work to address tackling environmental challenges in this way.”

“This combination of advice and support for tenants, whilst providing Homes for Good with the knowledge and expertise on how best to maximise the environmental impact of the homes we manage, is a first within the private rented sector.”

“The team at the Wise Group, who share our values and commitment to improving people’s lives, are the perfect partners to do this with. We look forward to seeing tangible improvements over the next 3 years in our tenants’ lives, and supporting others in the private rented sector across the UK to learn from our work.”

Homes for Good received a £2.4m grant from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, to expand and enhance the support it provides to vulnerable housing tenants access quality housing and to help other UK organisations to develop a similar model.

The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland Chair, Kate Still, added: 

“We are proud to support this partnership project, thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players. Homes for Good has developed a successful model which, alongside the expertise and experience of the Wise Group, will ensure that vulnerable tenants across Scotland have homes that are warmer and more affordable.”

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