Hand Up is an arrears management program that allows residents facing eviction for high levels of unpaid rent to save their tenancies and get the help they need.

Sm HandUpJodiBased on the successful Work Development Order model used by the NSW Government, Hand Up supports participants to pay off their rental debt by doing approved activities that address the underlying causes of rent arrears.

All participants undertake financial counselling and a range of other activities including study, volunteering and treatment programs.

Residents with rent arrears should contact the Housing Team on 02 8324 0885 to talk about Hand Up and other options for repayment.

 

Case Study: David 

Most Bridge Housing tenants pay their rent and other bills on time, however sometimes things go wrong. All sorts of issues may affect a tenant’s ability to pay their rent.  If payments are missed, the unpaid rent begins to accumulate, and it can be harder and harder to catch up.

The burden of debt and the stress caused by fear of possible eviction and homelessness can be crippling. We never want to see tenants in distress and have several checks in place to help prevent tenants from falling behind. If tenants do get into trouble, Bridge Housing’s Hand Up initiative helps tenants find a way out of arrears and towards a debt-free future.

David* is a Bridge Housing tenant from Canterbury LGA, currently completing a master’s degree course at UWS, who has agreed to share his successful experience participating in the Hand Up program.

“I had an injury more than a year ago outside the workplace and my working hours dropped significantly, resulting in financial hardship and rent arrears,” said David.

“Although I agreed to repay the arrears by a repayment plan, a significant amount was still remaining and causing additional financial stress,” he said.

“I was approached by Senior Housing Manager, Rachel Berry about finalising the arrears by undertaking financial counselling, then to assess and include my current educational course towards the debt. Housing Support Coordinator, Alison Hillis followed up, completing other paperwork for final approval based on my course hours.

“I have learnt many tips and ideas from the financial counselling sessions and I recommend them for anyone in similar situation.

“The Hand Up program motivated me to focus on my degree study, as the more I successfully progress, the more credit I receive to reduce my debt and eventually become debt-free. The course will also add a new higher education qualification to my CV for potential future roles in the field of my interest.

“There is nothing better than participating in this program for anyone interested to pursue study who has rent arrears for any reason,” concluded David.

David thanks Bridge Housing for the Hand Up initiative and encourages any tenants in similar situations to think about taking part and making a difference to their life circumstances moving forward.

For more information about the Hand Up program, contact the Housing team on 02 8324 0885.

* Not his real name