What is MoveRight?
The MoveRight app is a one-stop-shop, providing instant access to guidance and support for social housing tenants who are living independently for the first time.
The app is designed to better engage users with support, empowering them to have a truly fresh start in their new properties. The app can help with:
· Setting up bills and rent payments
· Understanding bills and letters
· Understanding Universal Credit
· Discovering grants, discounts and welfare support
· Interacting with housing officers
· Money management
The MoveRight mission is to reduce homelessness and empower social housing residents, who are often moving into social housing because they already have complex needs.
MoveRight will also host an annual seminar, bringing tenants, housing associations, local authorities and other support agencies together to share testimonials and discuss the needs and experiences of housing association tenants. The aim of these seminars is to bridge the gap between service providers and service users, which was widened after the Government cuts.
In addition, the app will be community led, with social housing tenants and MoveRight volunteers meeting bi-monthly at our 'Content Camps', where we will upload content to the app in a fun, relaxed environment. MoveRight is crowdfunding to cover travel expenses and provide refreshments for all tenants and volunteers at these Content Camps, which will take place 6 times a year.
Why is MoveRight needed?
In 2015, the London Housing Financial Inclusion Group (LHFIG) commissioned Sheffield Hallam University to do some research which revealed that young social housing residents aged 18-35 were at the highest risk of being made homeless within one year of moving into their new tenancies. The most common reason was late or non-payment of rent, followed by anti-social behaviour. In an effort to keep young people in their homes, the Hyde Group and Money Advice Trust funded a 2-year project for LHFIG, in which I trialled the implementation of behavioural economics into advice services. Behavioural economics uses psychology to better understand the decisions that people make, particularly regarding money. As the 'Money Saving Mentor', I used psychological techniques to ‘nudge’ young social housing tenants into making better financial decisions to improve their livelihoods and reduce homelessness. The project was a collaboration with Behaviour Change (a social enterprise tackling social issues), Toynbee Hall (a poverty alleviation charity) and the UK governments Behavioural Insights team.
I have spent my life in social housing, having grown up in a home which is considered socioeconomically disadvantaged. So I jumped at the opportunity to support people who grew up like me, knowing that financial burdens were just the surface of more complex issues. I knew that the less of these issues a person had to deal with, the more of themselves they could give to fulfilling their potential. This is what happened with Jane, whose name has been changed for privacy purposes. Jane’s case evidences the need to help young social housing residents who are living independently for the first time to take control of their financial security and avoid homelessness.
Who will MoveRight help (case study)?
Jane was 18 years old. She was a care leaver who had left an abusive relationship and her ex-partner located her new address, so she was moved again to emergency accommodation. The new home came unfurnished and she had no income as all of her benefits were suspended after she completed college. This of course meant that she could not pay her rent, and her tenancy type meant that eviction proceedings were fast tracked. To top it off, she was suffering from depression and it took a while to diagnose. I supported her through the behavioural economics project and her case left such a big impression on me, that I created the MoveRight app 2 years later. Even though I was no longer working in housing, I was burdened by the knowledge that there were many cases like Janes and not enough resources to provide personalised support since the Government cuts in 2015.
How will this crowdfund help?
The app has already been developed thanks to funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Shackleton Foundation, and the Lloyds Bank Start Up programme at the School for Social Entrepreneurs. So this crowdfunding is to cover volunteer expenses for our 'Content Camps'.
In order to make sure that volunteers and housing association residents are willing and able to give their time by attending and participating the Content Camps, MoveRight will cover their expenses (travel and refreshments). For many residents, this will be an opportunity to get involved with their local communities, allowing them to share experiences and build relationships. It also gives both residents and volunteers some experience to add to their CV's, whilst ensuring that MoveRight is providing the content that is most important to the communities that we serve.