Clarion Housing is Britain’s biggest housing association and provides homes for more than 350,000 people.
Clare Miller, Chief Executive, Clarion Housing Group: “As a social landlord we provide housing that simply wouldn’t be affordable at market prices. Every week we save our residents in excess of £11 million by charging subsidised and affordable rents. Over the course of a year, this adds up to an economic contribution of £550 million.”
We own and manage some 125,000 homes, working across over 150 local authorities, and pride ourselves on providing a good quality service to our residents.
In 2020/21 alone, we invested £290 million on home improvements and property maintenance.
Clarion continues to build on the vision of William Sutton, the Victorian entrepreneur and philanthropist who donated all of his fortune to social housing. We are here to provide homes for those who need them most.
We believe that being a landlord is about more than bricks and mortar. Through Clarion Futures (our charitable foundation) we work to maximise the opportunities available to our residents and change lives for the better. Every year we help thousands of people find work and support those who need help to manage their money, as well as funding community projects to enhance the places where our residents live. You can read more about the work of Clarion Futures here.
We provide help to a range of groups of people, from older residents to the homeless and from those with learning disabilities to people with mental health challenges.
Our staff also work to keep people in their homes who might have otherwise have been evicted. In 2019-20 alone, we helped more than 2,300 households to remain in their homes and managed to prevent hundreds of evictions.
We support Amy’s Place in East London, working alongside the Amy Winehouse Foundation. This is a recovery centre for young women aged 18-30 who have been in treatment for drug and/or alcohol addiction. Amy’s Place gives these women a stepping stone towards living independently. It provides a series of self-contained apartments for up to 16 women at any one time and Clarion’s lettings team works with staff at Amy’s Place to help residents into permanent homes once they are ready.
In addition, we run Kent County Council’s domestic abuse refuge service, providing places of safety for women and children across Kent and Medway. And in 2019-20 we helped develop domestic abuse training programmes which have been taken up across the region.
More than just a home
James, 51, lives alone with his son and was working as a Warehouse Manager when he was made redundant in 2020 because of cutbacks made due to Covid-19.
After being continuously employed for thirty-six years, he suddenly found himself having to claim Universal Credit for the first time, only to find the rent for his home wouldn’t be fully covered because of the ‘Bedroom Tax’ and non-dependent deductions. The shortfall meant he was struggling even with basic essentials such as food, electricity and gas.
While discussing his rent situation, James found out about Clarion’s tenancy sustainment service and was referred to the team. The team supported James with an application for Discretionary Housing Payments – designed to help towards housing costs. While he was waiting for the application, the team also arranged for some food vouchers to alleviate the burden in the interim. “I have been working since the age of 15 so to suddenly found myself out of employment was a big shock. It was even more of a shock to discover the shortfall in the benefits I was entitled to and the actual cost of the rent for my home. It meant I was having to cut back on essentials, like food, and was starting to fall behind with my gas and electric bills because I simply couldn’t afford them. I had to make some difficult choices about which bills to pay and which to put off.
“I was discussing my rent situation with Clarion and they told me about the support services they offer. I’ve been a Clarion resident for some time – as far as I was concerned they were my landlord and that was it – I didn’t know they offered this type of help for people. Chris at Clarion went above and beyond to help me to get all the assistance I was entitled to. Without that help, my financial situation would have only got worse.”
One of the people we have supported into work is Binnur, 61, who had experienced a loss of confidence after being out of work for several years due to ill health.
Having been a Clarion resident for several years, she contacted us for help having struggled to find work alone. Binnur received tailored support, with a dedicated employment adviser providing advice and guidance to improve her digital skills, update her CV and prepare for interviews, as well as putting her forward for jobs that matched her skillset. This led to her securing a temporary role at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) processing benefit applications at the height of the pandemic when there was a high volume of new Universal Credit claims.
Thanks to ongoing support from her employment adviser, she has since been promoted into a permanent role helping other people find work. Binnur said: “The support I’ve received from Clarion Futures has been life-changing. They helped me not only improve my skills and update my CV, but rebuild my confidence and thanks to them, I’ve secured a permanent job with the DWP as a work coach. It’s amazing to know that I’ll now be able to pass on the advice and guidance I’ve received to help other people like me find work.”
A place of his own
As with so many young adults, Joseph wasn’t yet earning enough to be able to rent privately or get a mortgage. He was still living with his parents, with the idea of having a place to call his own a distant dream.
When Clarion developed a number of homes for affordable rent in the Norfolk village where he lived, potential tenants had to have a local connection to the community. This meant that Joseph was able to get himself shortlisted and now lives in one of the new homes.
“I had been dreaming about having my own place for a very long time, but everything seemed to be against me. I am so happy to finally have a home of my own in a place I am already familiar with. I feel very fortunate and I won’t waste this opportunity. It’s spurred me on to progress in life.”