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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

LETSHELPYOU - EVALUATION & HEADLINES


LETSHELPYOU - EVALUATION & HEADLINES

www.letshelpyou.co.uk is a website developed by Looking Local, funded 
by the DWP and piloted across the five local authorities in West 
Yorkshire; Calderdale, Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees and Wakefield. 
Live since February, the website focuses on making affordable housing
available to tenants who have had their LHA (local housing allowance) 
reassessed and need to find a new home. 

Following the website launch and a marketing programme the first real
evaluation of the website is underway, trying to outline the impact it 
has had on front line services, what efficiencies have been realised by 
the housing teams involved and how it is helping local tenants affected 
by the changes in LHA.

Since the initial release in mid February, www.letshelpyou.co.uk has been a
genuine success within a very short time. In just 15 weeks 1,800 tenants 
and 500+ landlords have registered and the site has logged 23,590 unique 
sessions.
Week on week user session have increased and now average at just under
1,500, whilst the inclusion of new properties has increased seven-fold as
marketing and communications programmes have taken affect. Using this 
as a base, www.letshelpyou.co.uk predicts that by the end of 12 months 
there will have been just shy of 190,000 user sessions.


Following on from this and SOCITM Insight’s benchmark figure of £2.85 for 
an equivalent contact via telephone, this level of usage demonstrates just 
over £540,000 of avoidable contact for the region (over 12 months). And
indeed, many of those needing help from the council to find a home will be
considerably more expensive to deal with than the SOCITM figure. 


What is interesting is the type of property the site is attracting; of the 650 properties listed to date, 71% are listed below the relevant LHA rate. One of the issues raised by partners was the balance in terms of landlords' expectations of rents and what tenants could afford, and that seems to have been found.
The LetsHelpYou service offers an important alternative to the over-subscribed choice based lettings scheme, and in the past week access has been extended for those people not online, with LetsHelpYou now available via Looking Local on Sky and Virgin TV. 


With projections for Leeds (Mar-Dec 2012) indicating that over 4,500 benefit recipients will face a shortfall in housing benefit, www.letshelpyou.co.uk is a vital, multi-platform tool that gives tenants and housing teams a way finding new homes in the private sector. 
Indeed there are a number of policy areas where LetsHelpYou can help address current and upcoming issues. Simply from an information perspective, the site can give tenants and landlords a greater understanding of the LHA reforms and changes, as well tackling issues around homelessness, Universal Credit and the capping of benefits. 
www.letshelpyou.co.uk is available to be deployed across the UK. Built to allow organisations or areas to re-use the technology, the DWP is actively promoting the solution as a critical part of the jigsaw underpinning the changes to LHA, housing provision and wider welfare reforms. 
To find out more go to www.letshelpyou.co.uk 



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