Social landlords in the Liverpool City Region are ‘preparing for increases in arrears and unemployment after it became the first city to be given a “very high” COVID-19 alert level on the government’s new three-tier system’ according to industry trade title, Inside Housing.

The publication has spoken to social landlord chiefs across the city to understand the issues facing their tenants in light of tier three restriction announced just last week.

Standout sectors affected by the measures such as hospitality will ultimately face a shutdown, forcing tens of thousands into potential unemployment.

The article highlighted how many housing associations are now shifting resources to income and rent teams to help support a wave of tenants hit by financial hardship.

Chanel Williams, Director of Pathway Homes Group explained: “The pressure on housing associations will continue to intensify as unemployment rises and people are increasingly forced into a position of arears. Managing this sharp shift will be incredibly challenging.

“We continue to work closely with our partners, including housing associations, and are developing properties specifically for homeless people and vulnerable adults, notably in the north, but also across the wider UK. We are seeing demand escalate at a rapid rate and aim to create over 100 homes in Liverpool alone during the coming three months.”

Chief Executive of Regenda Group, Michael Birkett, told Inside Housing: “Liverpool relies heavily on the visitor and hospitality sectors for an awful lot of jobs and all of that uncertainty with employment and reductions in pay will fundamentally affect our arrears position. We are ready to put even more people in if things get really bad unemployment and arrears-wise.”

Acting Chief Executive of Plus Dane, Ian Reed added: “We are forecasting that our income teams will be hit, so we have increased resources in the team to deal with demand. We are seeing an increase in numbers of people out of work and increasing numbers of calls to our advisory team around income management.”

There has been a reported increase in the number of people claiming Universal Credit in recent weeks, placing additional demand on social and emergency housing.

Chanel at Pathway Homes concluded: “We are preparing ourselves as best we can and are introducing measures across the business that may help unblock any potential challenges or obstacles ahead. It is vital that we continue to develop our much needed homes for some of society’s most vulnerable people, now more than ever.”