Client Spotlight

Barnet Homes increase their impact on homelessness with MRI Housing Options

Due to the after-effects of the pandemic, rising costs and rocketing interest rates, the risk of homelessness is at its greatest now than it has been for a long time. For local authorities and housing providers, legislation such as the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) and Homelessness Case Level Information Collection (H-CLIC) mean that the effective management of homelessness data and robust reporting is essential.

Barnet Homes, based in the London borough and operating as an ALMO, uses the MRI Housing Options suite to manage homelessness cases, allocations, referrals, and reporting, which also allows them to maintain compliance in accordance with the HRA and HCLIC reporting.

Yet the Housing Options Suite has a broader impact than legislative compliance on the organisation, as Barnet’s Homes’ Data Integrity Project Manager, Sonia de la Orden explains.

Data Integrity

When dealing with homelessness cases and resident livelihoods, the accuracy of data is of paramount importance, in ensuring the effective management of cases.

Sonia de la Orden manages the data integrity team in the Housing Options department and works to ensure data integrity and compliance. This includes training for staff members and officers on the inputting of data to ensure accuracy and robustness. When using the MRI Housing Options suite, one of the most useful features for Sonia is the data validation tool.

We need a robust validation tool that identifies all H-CLIC errors and is updated with any changes to H-CLIC specifications … it informs users of H-CLIC data errors when data is inconsistent within the case. Also, the Housing Options configuration can assist with the data validation inputted in the Homelessness Reduction module, such as a case that we cannot progress until XYZ questionnaire is complete. The way the solution is designed means that it does half the job for you.

– Sonia de la Orden, Data Integrity Project Manager, Barnet Homes.

Data harvesting

For Barnet Homes, the data gathered through the Housing Options suite has a wider impact than meeting legislative obligations, as it has a lasting positive impact on the rest of the organisation and therefore, the lives of Barnet’s residents.

The data collected through Housing Options is pushed into other systems across the organisation and is vital for the team to understand trends, anticipate future demand, implement early intervention measures, and inform senior-level decision-making.

Data has become key to everything we do…for senior management who need to make decisions and efficiently use resources, data informs decision making. Senior management relies on accurate and meaningful data to make informed decisions, and the reporting tools have positively impacted how we manage data in Barnet.”

– Sonia de la Orden, Data Integrity Project Manager, Barnet Homes.


Using the Housing Options suite relieves the team at Barnet Housing from time-consuming tasks like number crunching, data input, and assembling reports. This relief means they can concentrate their resources on adding value to residents and providing more specialist and individual support to those who are vulnerable or at risk.

We have been reporting HCLIC data since April 2018. The difference is huge from trying to calculate the P1E return to simply; pressing a button, uploading, and most of your job is done.

– Sonia de la Orden, Data Integrity Project Manager, Barnet Homes.

Duty to Refer

Under section 213B of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2018, specified public authorities are required to notify a housing authority of service users they consider may be homeless or threatened with homelessness.

The Alert portal is a free-to-use online tool which securely and efficiently sends referrals and notifications between local authorities and wider partner agencies.

For Housing Authorities, MRI Alert provides a more efficient solution to managing referrals than emails. It removes the need for the team members to build a case themselves, as the information is included in the Alert referral report.

The Alert module is easy to use, and it works well. As Local Authorities need to report these referrals on H-CLIC, it is more efficient to process the duty to refer referrals over Alert than using resources to create the cases manually…it saves time and resources and gives the case an audit trail to the case.

– Sonia de la Orden, Data Integrity Project Manager, Barnet Homes.

An invaluable tool

The Housing Options suite ensures not only that the team at Barnet Homes can meet their obligations in line with HRA and H-CLIC but also helps them to aid local people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness. It also has a broader impact on the organisation, providing efficiencies and helping to ensure that the housing needs of Barnet customers are met.

We use various reports in Housing Options to help us identify customers for suitable properties and properties for customers. The reports contain customers’ suitability details, including how many bedrooms a tenant needs, and their requirements in terms of age, disability etc., that help us identify the most suitable property for their needs. Without these reports, it would be harder to determine what housing we need to provide or procure. The SMS feature is a useful tool for communicating with customers and has the audit trail of this communication

– Sonia de la Orden, Data Integrity Project Manager, Barnet Homes.

To find out more about how MRI’s Social Housing Tools could help you provide vital services to your communities, contact us to arrange a demo.

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