Financial Inclusion can be defined as people having access to an appropriate range of financial products and services, which allows them to effectively manage their money, regardless of their level of income or social status.
In simple terms it’s about money and whether we have the products, services and knowledge to be able to manage it effectively.
Our work aims to shape and inform both local (Welsh) and national (UK) strategy and policy. By facilitating, developing and delivering pilot projects with private, public and third sector partners we are able to raise greater awareness of the issues faced by people when they are financially excluded. We then share the lessons learned and best practice, through training sessions, presentations and workshops, helping partners to embed financial inclusion into their every day work.
Your Money, Your Home
Funded by Comic Relief and delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre, “Your Money, Your Home” provides advice and guidance to Private Rented Sector (PRS) tenants in Wales, and prepares people for the introduction of Universal Credit. It builds on the work of the Centre’s Tackling Homelessness through Financial Inclusion Project, which concluded in 2014.
Your Money, Your Home is initially focused on the counties of Anglesey, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Newport, however, where time and resources allow, support to other local authorities will be available. It helps PRS tenants at risk of homelessness due to money problems to:
- Take control of their finances to retain their home or secure more suitable accommodation
- Access appropriate financial services enabling them to manage their money and their lives better
- Understand that credit unions are a key tool to manage their money better and have access to sign up to their local credit union
- Access Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit for support
We know from published evidence, along with our own work that Private Rented Sector (PRS) tenants are more likely to be financially excluded and are less likely to engage with available support. Some PRS tenants have their rent paid directly to their landlord under the local authority’s Safeguarding Policy. But many who receive their rent have difficulty managing their monthly payments. This can result in arrears and an increased risk of eviction and homelessness.
Under Universal Credit, tenants will need to manage their own finances on a monthly rather than fortnightly basis. Yet our research shows PRS tenants are not fully aware of impending benefit changes. Landlords are also moving away from letting to benefit claimants, fearing that they are more likely to fall into arrears. This could have serious consequences on the Welsh housing market at a time where the private rented sector is becoming increasingly more important. Our project works with all these stakeholders to raise awareness, improve tenants’ financial capability and increase landlords’ confidence.
Support We Provide
- We carry out home visits, drop in sessions and telephone appointments for PRS tenants who are at risk of homelessness due to financial vulnerability
- Develop online tools to assist tenants and landlords
- Signpost digitally excluded tenants to free, local training
- Deliver financial awareness training to landlords, local authority and third sector staff
- Share the project’s findings with stakeholders across Wales and the UK
Head over to our website Money Made Clear Wales that provides lots of information to help people manage their money better; you can also follow our progress by signing up to the quarterly e-newsletter or on Twitter by looking out for the hashtag #YMYH.
Financial Inclusion Champions
Through our Financial Inclusion Champions project we work strategically with local authorities and third sector partners to embed financial inclusion into their every day work. This has never been more important, as we see unprecedented cuts in public spending start to take hold and everyone is trying to deliver more for less. Welfare reforms also mean more people are experiencing a reduction in their household income, and with more cuts to come, an increasing number of people are facing financial difficulties. In addition to this; we work collaboratively with partners to identify opportunities where elements of financial inclusion can be included into available funding streams, and offer free training to frontline workers to improve their financial awareness.