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    During the pandemic, a light has been shone on these invaluable projects.

Pobl Group's bond scheme

Rachel Rodrigues, manager of the scheme across Wales, writes about Pobl's work and achievements with their bond scheme since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. 

Bond schemes are an invaluable resource in the fight against homelessness. Their original function was to provide a paper bond for tenants who were homeless or potentially so, to move into the Private Rented Sector (PRS). However, as they evolved, they have become a fundamental part of the Local Authority toolkit to provide advice and assistance to those in need.

Pobl Bond Scheme has 10 team members working over 6 counties. Between March and June 2020, these teams have created 48 tenancies within the PRS in Carmarthenshire, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport, Powys and Torfaen. Funded by the Welsh Government, the role these schemes play in the prevention of homelessness and the recruitment of landlords, often goes under the radar. However, working with Local Authorities, these teams are an integral part of the homelessness solution.

As well as providing homes for 79 people in the above tenancies, they have also provided telephone advice and taken applications from those who are in unsuitable accommodation, negotiated rents with landlords and assisted people through the Universal Credit process to ensure that prevention work is carried out during lockdown.

The teams work with private landlords to secure affordable, sustainable properties and provide a bond certificate for a pre-agreed length of time (usually one year). During this time, the Bond Scheme is liable for arrears and damages up to the value of the bond, which is underwritten by the Welsh Government grant. However, the tenant is set up with a Credit Union account, which is ringfenced for payment for bonds, and becomes financially responsible for their bond once saved in full.

This agreement works for those people who have struggled to save a deposit for a property and means that they can save for it in affordable installments. It is essential for many people on state benefits, as without the help from the Bond Scheme, they would be trapped in their homeless situation. To ensure a level of tenure security, bonds are only provided with landlords who issue an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.

The Bond Schemes have excellent relationships with Private Landlords and Local Authorities and are therefore able to identify homeless situations and available properties. The Bond Schemes are committed to providing help and support to landlords and tenants, to fight homelessness and ensure equality for the financially disadvantaged during what is already a difficult and traumatic situation.

During the pandemic, a light has been shone on these invaluable projects. They provide financial assistance, housing advice, benefit guidance and their reputation and relationships with landlords often mean that they are best placed to provide help. The Credit Union savings scheme provides an opportunity for individuals to become financially aware, and many tenants accredit the Bond Scheme with them being able to save for the first time in their lives.

People who have previously struggled with tenancies thrive, as they have a point of contact who is neutral and will speak to their landlord if they have issues that they feel they cannot resolve themselves.

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© Cymorth Cymru 2020
Company Registration No: 5093332
Charity No: 1116774