Financial inclusion has been at the heart of our work for over 15 years. We’ve developed and strengthened the credit union movement, delivered training to frontline staff at local authorities and advice agencies, helped people at risk of financial exclusion, shaped Welsh Government’s financial inclusion strategy and influenced UK policy.
What is financial inclusion?
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.
Your Money, Your Home
Your Money, Your Home is a project which addresses the challenges facing tenants in the Private Rented Sector (PRS). In these uncertain times of welfare reform and increasing poverty, it aims to alleviate the daily challenges faced by many PRS tenants who lack financial capability and access to support services. Phase One, delivered from January 2015 until February 2017, was funded by Comic Relief. Phase Two of the project is funded through the Money Advice Service ‘What Works’ Fund and runs from March 2017 until May 2018.
Your Money, Your Home is delivered in the counties of Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil, however, where time and resources allow, support to other local authorities is 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 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.
- We carry out home visits, drop in sessions and telephone appointments for PRS tenants who are at risk of homelessness due to financial vulnerability
- Signpost digitally excluded tenants to free, local training
- Share the project’s findings with stakeholders across Wales and the UK
Head over to our website Money Made Clear Wales which provides lots of information to help people manage their money better; you can also follow our progress by looking out for the hashtag #YMYH on Twitter.
Funding provided by the Money Advice Service.