Sunderland City Council’s work to support landlords in the private sector and tenants facing eviction is in the running for a nationally recognised award.
The local authority has been shortlisted in the Homeless Project of the Year category of the UK Housing Awards, which takes place each year to recognise the outstanding work of organisations in the housing sector. The awards, which is in its 25th year, has shortlisted the council for its Eviction Prevention Support Service (EPSS), which was launched in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure that residents facing eviction are supported – alongside their landlords – to prevent homelessness and help secure long-term solutions to tenancy issues exacerbated by the pandemic.
The council is delivering a range of advice and guidance to residents through the EPSS to prevent evictions, and, ultimately, homelessness, by engaging both residents and landlords as early as possible to find solutions that work for both parties and deliver sustainable tenancies. The project will face stiff competition from other housing providers to scoop the award with judges looking at the impact of the programme in preventing homelessness.
Councillor Kevin Johnston, dynamic city cabinet member, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have been shortlisted for this nationally recognised award.. However, much more than that, we’re delighted that our proactivity in supporting people who have faced issues following the often-devastating impact of Covid-19 on their livelihood means that we have supported people to stay in their home and landlords to ensure they have sustainable tenancies. This shortlisting is recognition and vindication of that important work.”
The service has already supported more than 130 referrals, offering tailored advice and assessments to both landlords and tenants; signposting both parties to other organisations who can help; and mediation between parties, offering landlords an official third party to discuss alternatives to eviction.
Image: Councillor Kevin Johnson.