Together with... Sharon O’Connor

“I love what I do, and I love helping people. It gives me a lot of satisfaction."

Sharon O'Connor, Phoenix resident

Sharon O’Connor has been a Phoenix resident since we formed in 2007 and for the last three years has been helping residents to save money on their energy bills as the Phoenix Energy Champion.

In March 2020, Sharon had a stroke and spent lockdown recovering during an already challenging time.

Although Sharon was isolating and recovering for most of the year, she continued to offer advice to those who needed support, transitioning from her normal face to face Energy Café to a virtual service.

“I found 2020 very difficult, but I just wanted to let people know that I was still here to help them make the most of the energy that they use. It was so important for me to carry on offering advice to residents because it helped me to stay positive during the lockdown." Sharon provides advice on how and when to switch energy suppliers, how to apply for grants and how to reduce energy use at home.

Sharon’s hard work and determination to help others resulted in £16,350 in savings for Phoenix residents, delivered across 146 virtual advice sessions.

“The pandemic has impacted many financially, and with more of us at home, we're using more energy,” she said. “It doesn't matter how big or small the savings are, it all adds up and can make a difference.

“I love what I do, and I love helping people. It gives me a lot of satisfaction."

Sharon is continuing to offer advice remotely and regularly writes blogs for the Phoenix website to help residents cut down on their energy usage.

Letting properties and moving home

New neighbours

  • We welcomed 5 new leaseholders

Extra care

  • 5 tenants moved into our extra care scheme Hazelhurst Court (2 of whom were Phoenix residents whose homes could be re-let to overcrowded households)

New homes

  • We handed over the keys to 22 new build homes for rent and 8 for shared ownership

Home sweet home

  • 106 homes were re-let (22% were let to existing Phoenix households)

Empty homes

  • 128 homes for general needs rent became empty in the year
  • 9 tenants swapped homes

Ready to go

  • We re-let all our homes in an average of 66 days. This was impacted by the pandemic and we are working with our repairs service and Lewisham 'Find My Home' to improve this


  • We evicted no tenants

Suspected tenancy fraud

  • 40 cases open at the end of the year
  • opened 7 new cases
  • 7 cases closed

We supported

  • 32 households at risk (6 more than last year)
  • 39 households who are hoarding (7 more than last year)

Rents and service charges

We remained financially strong, increasing rental income collection from 95.47% in May 2020 to 100.8% in March 2021 and we exceeded leaseholder service charge collection targets at levels set prior to the pandemic.

Home owners


  • Collected £685,674 in day-to-day service charges

Major works

  • Collected £303,334 in major works charges (less than last year as less were charged)

Direct Debit

  • 59% of our home owners paid by direct debit



  • Collected 100.8% of our rents


  • Current arrears increased by £147,000

Former tenants

  • Former tenant arrears decreased by £84,000

Evicted arrears

  • No tenants were evicted for rent arrears

Direct Debit

  • 19% of tenants paid by direct debit

Average rent

  • The average Phoenix rent per week across social rented properties is £106.19, among the lowest in Lewisham

The welfare reforms and the pandemic impacted on our residents

Universal Credit

  • 1,290 households claiming Universal Credit and this number is increasing

Bedroom tax

  • 258 households affected by the benefit reduction for bedrooms (less than last year)

Benefit cap

  • 15 households affected by the benefit cap (less than last year)

We’re here to help

We recognise that the past year has been challenging for many and the message remains that we are here to help. Whether you need support with your finances, your wellbeing, or if you have concerns about someone else, there is support available.

Contact us today on 0800 0285 700 or email

Grants and benefits

  • Supported residents to access over £438,000 in grants and benefits


  • We launched a new resident wellbeing service which has received over 20 referrals

Money advice

  • Supported 48 residents to manage benefit claims or finances independently

Service delivery

  • We completed restructures within the Income and Safety and Compliance teams to support with service delivery

Phoenix Community Housing, The Green Man, 355 Bromley Road, London SE6 2RP.

Phoenix Community Housing Association (Bellingham and Downham Limited) is a Community Benefit Society (number 30057R). VAT number 162 4926 03. Regulator of Social Housing registration no. L4505.