Place Category: Housing
Staying First is an award-winning dynamic social enterprise helping people stay in their homes. We’re well known for our efficiency, quality, innovation and value for money services. For 30 years, those services have been making a real and lasting difference to people, often very vulnerable, in west London. We’ve been part of Shepherds Bush Housing Group since 2000.
Furnish is one of the country’s most established furniture recycling businesses. We run shops in Shepherds Bush and Whetstone and a huge commercial recycling centre.
Our debt and welfare benefit advice services is a lifeline to people in west London. We’re commissioned to provide this service by a range of housing groups.
We also provide training courses and research in welfare benefits, welfare reform, debt at prices significantly under the current market rate.
Home Improvement Agency
When someone becomes elderly or their health fails, it can often mean moving home. Our work helps people to continue living in their homes. We deliver home improvement and disability adaptations to the public and private sectors charging a competitive agency fee. We carry out surveys, produce specifications and drawings, apply for planning permission and manage the adaptation process through all stages.
Social Impact Declaration: Social-Impact-Declaration_Staying-First.pdf
Social Impact Statements:
Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders must submit Social Impact Statements that summarise their headline activities and achievements, helping show how they are striving to make a difference and stand up to scrutiny of purpose as a social enterprise.
Updated February 2017
1) Key activities
- Furniture re-use and sales
- Social fund fulfilment
- Debt and welfare advice services
- Home Improvement Agency (HIA) services
2) Example measures of key activities
- Furniture re-use and social fund - over 6,000 people have accessed this service
- Advice - over 350 households have been supported
- HIA - around 100 households have been supported
3) Creating economic impact and social value
We provide free furniture for those in furniture poverty, which enables us to also save furniture from landfill.
We have also completed adaptation of vulnerable clients property, and have provided advice casework, which secures on average in excess of £1,200 per client in additional income.
Case study - advice service
Ms B is a tenant of one of our partner Housing Associations. She was referred to us by her Housing Officer. She had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and remained in hospital as a voluntary patient. At the point of referral Ms B had no active benefit claims and no source of income. She was in rent arrears of over £3,000 and had previously been taken to court and issued with a Suspended Possession Order. She was therefore at serious risk of losing her home. She had Council Tax arrears and a bailiff had been instructed to attend her property to recover the debt. She also had multiple non-priority debts.
We visited Ms B in hospital several times. We established that she had previously made a claim for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) but that this had been refused on the basis that she was not eligible. We helped her to appeal this decision and made written representations to the Tribunal. We also submitted a complaint to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). We won the appeal and a backdated award of ESA was issued totalling £788 along with a weekly entitlement of £71.70.
We helped Ms B claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax support and also requested that her claims were backdated. Our representations were successful and she was awarded £110.09 per week and a backdated payment of over £1792, which significantly reduced her rent arrears.
We discovered that she also had a previous Housing Benefit over-payment of £3,000, which was being deducted from her weekly entitlement at £10.80 per week. We established the reason for the over-payment and made further submissions to the Housing Benefit department. This resulted in the over-payment being reduced by £2,300 to £700.
We advised Ms B of her entitlement to claim Personal Independence Payment once she was discharged from hospital. We liaised extensively with Ms B’s landlord to help maintain her tenancy and to avoid further possession action being taken.
We liaised with the Council Tax department at the local authority, who agreed to suspend all recovery action and to withdraw the bailiffs from the debt recovery process due to Ms B’s mental health problems.
We wrote to each of Ms B’s creditors regarding her priority debts in order to suspend recovery action pending her discharge from hospital. At the point Ms B was discharged from hospital, we referred her for Floating Support Services as she needed additional and ongoing support with budgeting, bills and day to day life tasks.