Hand Up Arrears Program
Launched in May 2016, Hand Up is an innovative arrears management program to enable tenants facing eviction for significant unpaid rent to save their tenancy and get their lives back on track.
Hand Up is based on the successful Work and Development Order (WDO) model used by the NSW Government that enables people experiencing acute financial hardship to pay off their fines through approved activities.
Jodi* gets her life back on track
The program sits alongside traditional arrears management approaches that involve tenants repaying arrears under a repayment plan or action in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The Hand Up program involves Bridge offering tenants alternative, non-monetary ways of “repaying” their rental arrears, including mandatory financial counselling and a range of other activities such as enrolling in study, volunteering in the community, or undertaking a treatment program. These additional activities aim to assist tenants to address underlying issues that have led to their debt.
Jodi* knows what it’s like to struggle. With an intellectual disability and a small child with a disability, Jodie was struggling to cope in her home. When Jodie experienced violence at the hands of her former partner, she neglected her payments and fell into rent arrears.
Under Bridge Housing’s innovative Hand Up program, she is now “repaying” her debt by attending parenting courses, life skills support and financial counselling. In just six months she cut her debt by $5,000 to almost zero.
* Real name withheld.