Box 7.3 Client level advocacy: housing advice
The primary research undertaken for this study suggested six key areas of innovation (see also Walker et al., 2001). Two of these were essentially generic innovations – that is, not specific to the sector: changes in technology in a narrow, technical sense, in terms of the use of alarm systems, teleworking, close
Many housing associations provide management, training or advisory services for other housing groups in addition to operating their own accommodation. The voluntary sector also contributes to housing advocacy through the operation of local specialist housing advice agencies, as well as through the advice on housing which forms an important part of the activities of generalist advice agencies. Highest profile of all is the national homeless charity Shelter, mentioned earlier, which now helps more than 100,000 people a year. Its fifty-four housing aid centres exemplify many of the advice-giving activities also undertaken by more local organizations and some housing associations, including helping people avoid losing their homes to begin with; finding places to sleep at night; informing people of their legal rights; representing people in court or presenting their case to lenders or public authorities; and through assistance in drafting letters to landlords and bank managers.