Despite its most challenging year to date with the effects of COVID-19, Ongo has been recognised as an industry leader for its approach to income collection and supporting tenants.
Over the last two years, the North Lincolnshire-based provider has made efforts to cut overall rent arrears among its 10,000 tenants by taking steps to support those struggling and assisting people into advance positions with rent accounts.
Ongo has helped people to overcome causes of debt and worked with partners to ensure tenants get the help, advice, and any intervention they need.
So far, Ongo says this approach has been “overwhelmingly successful”, with rent arrears halving since 2018 and currently sitting at around 600k – at a time when many landlords have experienced a doubling or even tripling of arrears.
Ongo has also achieved the lowest Universal Credit debt in the whole of the housing sector.
Matt Kelly, income manager at Ongo, has been involved in leading this work. He said: “Our stance is always to support tenants and be as understanding as possible before we take action.
“So, the best part is that this was all achieved without having to carry out a single income related eviction over the last year.
“We have a fantastic team who are responsible for these results, and it’s down to them that so many of our tenants that may have been sat at home worrying now know there’s someone at the end of the phone who can help.
“Our performance is being noticed across the board, which is fantastic, and I could not be prouder of what we have achieved for both our tenants and colleagues.”
Ongo has been approached by housing providers across the country to share best practice, alongside being invited to speak at national conferences hosted by leading organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and Housing Quality Network (HQN).
Steve Hepworth, chief executive at Ongo, said: “Behind this trend of reducing rent arrears are so many stories of local people and families trying their best.
“So, it makes me incredibly proud to know they have received the support they needed to get on top of their finances.
“Watching the team share their knowledge with others in the housing sector is fantastic, and as an organisation we are delighted to see the difference they make every day.
“Of course, thanks must also be given to our incredible and resilient tenants and customers, who despite the last year have worked alongside us to achieve this target.
“We hope to see this trend continue for many years to come.”
Image: Ongo call centre staff
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