"It matters to me that we are supporting vulnerable people"

Tenancy Support Co-ordinator

What is key is that we are operating in the gaps where, for whatever reason, support hasn’t been available for tenants.

I’m Southdown’s Tenancy Support Co-ordinator for a completely new service called the Tenancy Support Service.

Over the past five years, as a result of reductions in local authority funding for supported housing services, 19% of our tenants no longer have access to this additional support, despite continuing to have support needs due to their long-term vulnerability and health conditions.

To respond to this from April 2017 we offered a new Enhanced Tenancy Management service to all tenancies. Funded by a weekly charge on all tenancies, this enables us to resource a small in-house tenancy support team to improve the service we offer to tenants.

The new service will make sure all tenants are visited regularly to review their support needs, regardless of whether they are linked to a funded support contract, and to provide additional specialist support around issues such as hoarding, anti-social behaviour, and budgeting.

We also want to make sure our tenants are ready for the roll out of Universal Credit by supporting them with financial and digital inclusion and providing support to sustain their claim.

I am the first member of the Tenancy Support Team, employed as the Coordinator to scope out the additional offer we will provide to tenants.

Over the next few months I will be recruiting a Floating Support Officer who will be providing the support, and there will be a Specialist Benefits Worker supporting people with Universal Credit claims. I will have both a management role and a front-line presence.

It’s about being proactive and going out to tenants rather than waiting for them to come to us.

Using our client database, we have identified tenants who aren’t receiving support, who may have indicated a support need already, or who have not been in contact with Southdown for some time. We are also planning to identify peoples’ needs during their annual tenant visit.

What is key is that we are operating in the gaps where, for whatever reason, support hasn’t been available for tenants.

For me, building relationships within Southdown is important. Complementing other services and being able to signpost tenants to other services in Southdown is vital.

It matters to me that we are supporting vulnerable people.

I hope that we can support tenants through a difficult period of change in terms of the way they’re required to manage and receive their benefits and their obligations around that.

We support tenants who don’t have many options and who don’t have the means, capacity, ability or confidence to ask for help. It’s about engaging with people who are isolated and closing the gap.

 

We are a specialist housing provider and landlord for over 600 tenants and shared owners across Sussex. We provide different types of affordable housing from temporary accommodation to a long term home. As a supported housing landlord, we provide additional support for our tenants to help them manage their tenancy and maintain their home.