About the Briefing
Thank you to all who attended this briefing which looked at the Supported Rent Flexibility Pilot run by Optivo Housing Association, who manage 44,000 properties in England and the Centre for Responsible Credit.
The purpose of the pilot gave an opportunity for tenants in work but also dependent on benefits, who had fallen into arrears of less than £500 in the past year, to set up an agreement to vary the amount of rent paid over the course of the year to help avoid them getting into debt of having to take out high cost credit.
The session was led by Damon Gibbons, Director of the Centre for Responsible Credit. Damon explained how the scheme helped tenants reduce arrears and avoid having to use expensive credit. It relieved them of stress and anxiety while at the same time strengthened their relationship and engagement with the landlord, who benefited from improved rent account management.
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Centre for Responsible Credit
Damon is the Director of the Centre for Responsible Credit (‘CfRC’) – an independent research and policy unit hosted by Learning and Work Institute. He has over twenty years experience of providing, designing, and commissioning services to meet the needs of disadvantaged groups and communities and has been involved in consumer campaigns at the national level on issues of credit, debt, and financial exclusion for well over a decade.Read More
Damon is best known for his work to improve the regulation of high cost credit markets, which has included research into the effect of interest rate caps and affordability assessment processes internationally, as well the drafting of several private members bills, speeches, and amendments to legislation during the successful campaign for a cap on payday lending rates in the UK. He is also the author of the book ‘Britain’s Personal Debt Crisis: how we got here and what to do about it’, published in 2014.
Most recently, his work on Local Welfare Provision, developments in FinTech, and the regulation of the Rent to Own market have also been influential; receiving the attention of national media and from politicians of all parties.
Prior to founding the CfRC in 2010, Damon worked as the Head of Policy for the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion and prior to that he worked in local government with responsibilities for advice and economic development services. He served as an adviser to the Local Government Association on debt and financial inclusion issues, helping to design the criteria for the financial inclusion Beacon Council awards in 2007, and was responsible for the development of two nationally recognised services to enforce Minimum Wage payment to low paid workers, and to provide advice and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers, in Leicester.
However, Damon’s initial career was spent as a money and welfare rights adviser in the voluntary sector and during this period he provided county court and Tribunal representation as well as training services for new advisers and developed a partnership project to meet the advice needs of offenders in Warwickshire. He also served as an Executive Committee member and press officer for the Money Advice Association.
Damon holds a BA in Economics and Politics and an MA (Distinction) in Public Policy.